The most important thing President Trump can do to help the tech industry? Pass a paid leave law, says YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Appearing at CNNMoney’s American Opportunity breakfast in New York City Wednesday, the CEO spoke at length about the need for a federal paid leave law in the U.S. “Paid leave is a not just a mother and child issue, it’s a societal issue we have,” Wojcicki said, adding that the lack of it is a “huge issues for keeping women in the economy.”
The Google (goog) executive, who is also the mother of five children, noted that a quarter of American women go back to work just ten days after giving birth. “How can that be good for babies? How can that be good for breastfeeding? We’re paying for it in all these health costs as opposed to just giving women the time to be at home and recover, bond with their babies,” she said.
Wojcicki said that paid leave is what’s at the top of the priority list for her personally, though not necessarily for Google as a company. “H1B visas, patent reform, and net neutrality” are what the corporation is currently focusing on, she said, while she cares deeply about affordable child care and science and tech education.
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No. 16 on Fortune‘s list of Most Powerful Women, Wojcicki is one of the most prominent female voices in tech. In March, she wrote an editorial in Vanity Fair about how to break up the “Silicon Valley boys’ club,” in which she points to three key action items for executives: 1) Make diversity a priority at the top 2) Provide money and staff to groups that support female—or any underrepresented—employees and 3) Give minority employees access to mentors.
She should know. A few months ago, the YouTube chief announced that under her watch, the number of female employees has increased from 24% to 30% of the organization.
Despite her cultural clout, it is still unclear whether Wojcicki will be part of President Trump’s newly-formed American Technology Council. Members of the council will primarily work to coordinate the “vision, strategy, and direction for the Federal Government’s use of information technology and the delivery of services through information technology,” according to the executive order the president passed on Monday.
As of Wednesday morning, Wojcicki said has “not yet” been asked to be a part of it, and if she were to be invited, her decision about whether to participate would depend on “the agenda and what’s being planned.”