Women’s Rights

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Wage Gap

It is 2017, and it is long past time that women earn the same wages as men for the same work.

While we have made progress towards closing this gap, the hard truth is that women still make about 20% less than men for doing the same jobs. That adds up to a whopping $10,470 less per year than men make for doing the exact same work. That’s more than $840 billion that women lose in wages every year.

The wage gap persists in our community as well; in 2014, women in the 6th District earned $15,000 less than men in our district. We can and must do better than this.

Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue, it’s a family issue and an economic one. It should be an issue of equal rights for us all. Hardworking families increasingly rely on women’s wages to make ends meet, and with less take-home pay, women have less for the everyday needs of their families.

I believe that Congress needs to do more to end gender-based wage discrimination and that’s why I am a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill aims to advance pay equality, promote fair labor standards, and provide women with key resources to challenge pay discrimination. We should all be able to get behind the goals of the Paycheck Fairness Act and continue to work towards a more fair and equitable work environment for women.

 

Gender Equity in Education

There is a significant gap between women and men in the United States when it comes to educational outcomes, and this gap cuts both ways. Girls outnumber boys in gifted and talented education programs and women earn tertiary degrees at a greater rate than men. But those broad statistics obscure other inequalities. Women receive less than a third of all STEM degrees.

Bullying and sexual harassment also threaten female students’ educational experiences. After graduating, women still make about 20% less than men for doing the same work, a wage gap that contributes to the disproportionate student loan burden borne by the female population. Equal educational opportunity is not just a women’s issue, it is an economic imperative. I believe that Congress needs to do more to end gender-based wage discrimination and education inequality, and this is another reason that I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

We must also continue to support enforcement and implementation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX not only protects a woman’s right to have the same opportunity as a man to participate in college athletics, but it also holds schools responsible for responding to and remedying hostile educational environments. Both of these protections help ensure women’s success in her educational endeavors.

Opportunity is the animating idea of America: the truly exceptional belief that you can be anything you want if you are willing to work for it. Education is the ultimate equalizer; a good education is the difference between a life of hardship and a life of success for our nation’s children. But recent years have laid bare the fact that Americans’ faith in this idea has been shaken to its core, and perhaps for good reason. So, we must work to restore that faith and embrace a vision for our country’s future grounded in enhancing opportunity for all, starting with our children, regardless of gender.

 

Women’s Health

I firmly believe that women’s basic right to access healthcare should not be affected because of ideological differences.

Women have a fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions, and the government should not come between a woman and her doctor. Restricting women’s rights is not just bad for women, it’s bad for families, it’s bad for communities, and it’s bad for a country founded upon the values of freedom and equal rights. Our government should be focusing on how to improve all women’s access to affordable healthcare options, not trying to restrict it for a political end.

I stand for a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body. I also stand for a woman’s right to access affordable medical treatment, like the treatment Planned Parenthood offers. I’ve long been a supporter of Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with critical health care services such as breast cancer exams and primary care services. Defunding this organization would have drastic consequences and severely diminish access to basic health care services for many women, particularly women in low-income communities.

Women make up 51 percent of the population in the United States, and it is the responsibility of members of Congress to represent their interests and prioritize health over party. That is why I will fight to continue the funding of Planned Parenthood, and I will work to ensure every American woman has access to healthcare regardless of income or location.

 

The Right to Choose

I am a strong defender of a woman’s right to choose and a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. I also profoundly respect the Constitutional protections for the diverse cultural and religious traditions of all Americans, and I appreciate that these beliefs will inform each of our views on difficult issues, including abortion. My respect for every American’s right to freely practice religion informs my belief that only a woman and her doctor should make decisions related to reproductive health care.

In my view, all Americans can find common ground that will improve the health of our communities by working to make sure every child who enters this world is loved and receives the care he or she deserves. In order to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, we should increase access to comprehensive health education and family planning services for all women and families.

 

Paid Family Leave

I am deeply committed to workplace equality and to the economic well-being of the families in the Commonwealth and across the country. As you may be aware, the Pew Research Center reported in 2016 that the United States is the only developed nation in the world without mandatory paid parental leave. This is troubling to me, and I believe that our country needs to improve the working conditions of every American.

As an employer, I believe paid family and medical leave policies help my staff lead more secure and productive lives. Every worker in America ought to have the same security as my employees so that he or she can contribute to our economy and care for loved ones without risking the loss of wages or termination. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s good for our economy, too.

While the 1990 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has helped millions of people keep their jobs when medical or other needs arise, it does not provide for paid leave. U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that only 13 percent of workers have access to paid leave, indicating that many Americans will face the difficult choice between taking care of a loved one and providing for their families.

By supporting paid family leave, we are investing in the future of every child. A report released last year by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney found that women who take family leave to raise children are more likely to experience a wage gap later on in their careers. The wage gap widens with age, and women aged 75 and older are twice as likely to live in poverty as men. Women on average contribute roughly 40 percent of their family’s total earnings, which means that when women are underpaid, families have a harder time making ends meet. One step to closing this wage gap is to end the stigma of paid family leave, which benefits women, all parents and children, and our economy as a whole.

I recognize that the United States has a long way to go to improve working conditions in every industry and at every level, and I will do my best to look out for the economic interests of all Americans. Paid family leave is crucial to the closure of the wage gap between men and women and important for the health of children and their parents.

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