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Senator, business leaders, sports notable among those at “Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit”

NEW YORK - Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden hosted U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2013 “Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit” on Friday at New York University’s Rosenthal Pavilion to discuss the need to modernize the nation’s outdated workplace rules and empower families to ensure more middle class women workers have a fair shot at earning financial security and help lead in the new economy. The fabric of the American workforce has changed over the past several decades with the increased participation of women – there are more dual income households than ever before and 40 percent of women with children at home serving as sole breadwinners. Federal policies, however, have yet to keep pace with the needs of the modern workforce and middle class families.

Earlier this fall, Gillibrand unveiled five common-sense solutions as part of her “American Opportunity Agenda” that would create paid family medical leave, increase the minimum wage, make quality affordable child care accessible, provide universal pre-k, and ensure equal pay for equal work. Dozens of high-powered women leaders today shared their own insights into workplace challenges and discussed how Gillibrand’s new agenda will give women a chance to achieve their full financial potential and succeed at work to strengthen our families and help businesses compete.

“The face of the American workforce has changed dramatically with the increased participation of women,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The key to a growing economy – the key to a thriving American middle class in the 21st century – is women. This summit focuses on equipping more working women with the opportunities to achieve their best in the economy and their best for their family. My five long overdue solutions to modernize the American workplace with policies that empower women and families will give women a chance to earn their way ahead in the economy and achieve their full financial potential.”

In front of an audience of more than 350 women, including NYU students and professional women of all ages and backgrounds, the Senator’s summit kicked off with an opening keynote conversation with tennis legend and women’s rights pioneer Billie Jean King and Catalyst President and CEO Ilene Lang. The keynote was followed by a lively panel discussion moderated by MSNBC’s Karen Finney with Glamour Magazine Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami, Carol’s Daughter Founder Lisa Price, Working Mother Media President Carol Evans, and El Diario/La Prensa Publisher Emeritus Rossana Rosado.