As a mother of two women and the grandmother of a little girl, I recognize the importance of girl’s and women’s safety, health, and economic security in creating strong, vibrant communities. I am a proud member of the bipartisan Women’s Caucus, where I work with other members of the House to improve the lives of women and families.
Equal Pay for Women
Despite their critical role as breadwinners for two-thirds of American families, women continue to make an average of 78 percent of what men earn, with women of color earning even less. The National Women’s Law Center estimates that Latinas are paid only 55% of what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts make. This is unacceptable. I am an original cosponsor and strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers who pay men more for performing the same job to show that the disparity is job-related and necessary. It would also prevent employers from retaliating against employees who discuss salary information with their coworkers and strengthen available remedies for underpaid employees.
Women’s Access to Health Care
Women’s access to comprehensive health care services affects the health of entire families. That’s why I have worked hard to prevent cuts to key women’s health programs and to continue funding organizations like Planned Parenthood and the community health centers that provide a broad range of preventive health care services. I have also worked to maintain access to contraceptives without cost sharing for all women. In fact, I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services emphasizing the importance of access to free contraception for all women, regardless of their employer’s religious beliefs. Going forward, I will continue to fight to ensure that women have access to the health services they need.
Violence Against Women
As a new Congresswoman, I was proud to be an original cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), which expanded federal efforts to combat domestic violence in the United States. This legislation passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law after women of both parties in the House and Senate came together to resolve differences and negotiate a path forward. Today, VAWA programs provide critical resources that support legal assistance for victims of domestic violence, fund rape crises centers, and support research into best practices for reducing and preventing violence against women.
Equal Rights Amendment
I believe that it’s long past time to affirm that discrimination on the basis of sex is unconstitutional. I am strongly support adding an Equal Rights Amendment be added to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment would state simply that women “shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction…” and that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged.” I will continue fighting to advance women’s rights and promote economic security for women and their families.