White House touts benefits of minimum wage increase on women

The White House on Tuesday published a new report showing that raising the minimum wage would especially benefit female workers, the latest volley in a campaign to focus attention on women and the economy before the 2014 midterms. [READ THE REPORT.]

The report says women would disproportionately benefit from a minimum wage hike because women in the workforce are more highly concentrated in low-wage sectors like personal care and healthcare. 

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President Obama has pressed lawmakers to hike the federal minimum wage — currently $7.25 — to $10.10 per hour. Some 55 percent of workers making below that rate are women.

The report's release comes less than a week after Obama traveled to Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., in the first of a series of springtime events focused on women and the workplace.

In the coming weeks, the White House will host five regional forums where senior administration officials will solicit ideas about how the government could make it easier for women to get ahead in the workplace. 

The events in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and New York City are intended as listening sessions for the White House to gather ideas on how the president and other lawmakers can address discrimination issues and family pressures that exacerbate gender disparities. 

In June, the White House will host a “Summit on Working Families” in Washington, where the administration and outside participants can share some of the best ideas and practices collected across the country.

"We're going to keep making the case as to why these policies are the right ones for working families and for businesses," Obama said.

The renewed focus comes ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, where Democrats hope to cling to their majority in the Senate and avoid losing seats in the House. Women were crucial to the president’s reelection bid, with Obama having a 12-point advantage among female voters.

Last week, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus predicted Republicans could close that gap in 2014 by focusing on the botched implementation of the president's signature healthcare law.

“I’m just guessing here, but I think among youth and women, we’re gonna see the greatest increase in 2014 because of, No. 1, ObamaCare,” Priebus said. “It’s very, very, very personal among women losing your doctor, getting your insurance canceled.”