The Continued Fight for Women’s Rights
I am a proud, outspoken advocate of women’s rights. My daughters, my wife, my mother and my sisters – these strong and remarkable women are the source of my daily inspiration. I am surrounded daily by strong women and female activists who continue the fight to preserve how far we have come in the advancement of women’s rights.
Equal Pay and Economic Opportunity
Women, on average, make 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. And for women of color it is even less. For an American woman working to make the same salary as her male counterpart at the same job, she needed to work an additional 98 days – the equivalent of working until April 8 of the following year.
That’s unconscionable. While the gap is closing, it’s closing at far too slow a pace. I am committed to reversing this injustice. One of my first votes in Congress was in favor of the Lily Ledbetter Act, which helps pave the way for women in this country to earn equal pay for the same work. I also co-sponsored and voted in favor of improvements to the Equal Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
I support increasing the penalties for wage discrimination on the basis of sex and making it illegal for an employer to retaliate against a female employee who investigates whether she is being paid less than her male co-workers.
My steadfast belief that it is a woman’s right — and her sole right — to make her own reproductive choices, without interference from lawmakers or government.
In the past few years, Republicans have redoubled efforts to not only erode, but to effectively eliminate that right. At the federal level, I have opposed Republican budget proposals that defund family planning and community health centers, and I stood up against the Abortion Full Disclosure Act, which is nothing but an elaborate attempt to persuade private insurers to stop covering legal abortions. I will also continue to oppose state legislatures across the country that are attempting – at times very successfully – to destroy women’s reproductive freedoms.
Freedom from Abuse and Domestic Violence
In the end, equal rights, reproductive freedom and equal pay can’t mean much if a woman is not physically safe at home and in her relationship. Whether she is on campus or in her own living room, we must do more to protect women from violence and abuse.
I was a proud co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019. All victims of domestic abuse deserve the full protection of the law.
Improving Health Care and Health Outcomes for Women
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done a great deal to reduce the health care cost and care disparities that women still face. I supported the ACA because it forced the door to care open for millions of American women. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to pregnant women, refuse to cover breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, or charge women higher premiums than men. It was a long road to enrollment, but I’m proud of the progress we made for women’s health under Obamacare.
Ensuring equal access to treatment is important, but I’m hoping to see the day where medical research and development end many of today’s worst diseases. Until there’s a cure, I will continue to be a strong supporter of funding for breast and ovarian cancer research.