Enduring Rights For Women
By: Representatives Diane Langley and Donna Mombourquette
Jessica Meir and Christina Koch may have just made history, completing the first-ever all-female spacewalk, but here on earth women continue to face systemic discrimination in and out of the office.
Women have certainly made great strides in the nearly one hundred years since gaining the right to vote. In 2012, New Hampshire became the first state to send an all-female Congressional delegation to Washington. And women have led our most significant movements in the past few years — MeToo and Black Lives Matter — and were critical in helping Democrats retake the House in 2018.
But despite this progress, women still earn on average .79 cents for every dollar a man makes in New Hampshire. That means, over the course of a year, women make nearly $12,000 less doing the same job as a man.
Meanwhile, a recent study found that more than half of women in New Hampshire have been sexually harassed in the workplace.
But it’s not just the workplace. Women experience discrimination and harassment in every aspect of life, whether its online, in the streets, or at home — sometimes with fatal consequences.
In the past few months alone, several women have been brutally murdered at the hands of their domestic partners — and these are only the stories we’ve heard about.
And a woman in America today is 50 percent more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than her mother was. With nine New Hampshire hospitals closing their maternity wards since 2000, some women have been forced to drive an hour or more to give birth, greatly increasing the chance of fatal complications.
And when it comes to reproductive rights, that fundamental freedom is under attack with a conservative Supreme Court hearing challenges to Roe v. Wade. While New Hampshire has relatively few restrictions to these rights, that could all change with a Supreme Court decision.
From health care to the economy to safety, every issue is a woman’s issue. So empowering women requires a comprehensive approach that touches every aspect of our society — and that is exactly what Pete Buttigieg’s latest plan does. His far-reaching policy recognizes what it means to be a woman in today’s society.
To close the pay gap, Pete would pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and require every large company to report its pay gap. Just by ensuring women are paid the same as men, the poverty rate among women would be cut in half in New Hampshire.
To end sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace, Pete would invest $10 billion in holding employers and perpetrators accountable as well as oversight and prevention. That means doubling funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and tasking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop a standard for workplace violence, including sexual violence.
To protect women’s health care and their right to choice, Pete’s plan would enshrine abortion rights into law, abolish the Hyde Amendment, ensure a full range of health services for women – especially expecting mothers, and keep rural obstetric units open.
To create a safer world for women, Pete would close federal loopholes that allow abusive domestic partners to purchase and own guns, increase funding for affordable housing and shelters to support women escaping domestic violence, and combat growing online harassment by criminalizing revenge porn.
And to protect women’s rights far beyond his presidency, Pete’s plan calls for finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to recognize women’s equal rights under the Constitution.
At the end of the day, while I am proud of the progress women have made, progress around the edges — an issue here, an issue there — is not enough when it is at constant risk of being reversed.
Enduring rights and freedoms for women requires us to systematically empower women in our economy, our political system, and more. Pete Buttigieg understands that because at the heart of his campaign is a mission to ensure every American has a place in our society because our freedoms are inextricably bound together.
Pete is an ally in every sense of the word. It’s time we put a real ally in the White House.
Diane Langley represents Manchester’s Ward One in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where she serves on the Judiciary Committee.
Donna Mombourquette represents New Boston and Mont Vernon in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where she sits on the Municipal and County Government Committee.