by Wise Woman SueErika Silverman
I have heard that certain candidates are “good for women’s rights” because they are pro-choice or they think that women should be paid equally. Yes, that is good. Obviously, I would rather have the candidate that is pro-choice than the one who is not pro-choice. But what is even more inspiring is a candidate who will not only protect women’s rights, but who will push the envelope on women’s rights. With Hillary Clinton, women’s issues are not just a side thought that she acknowledges when asked about them.
They are at the forefront of her fight. She does not just support pro-women legislation, she introduces it. She does not just respond to questions about women’s rights, she starts the conversation. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton ensured “women’s empowerment and rights are no longer fringe issues in the U.S. government or the international arena. Imagine what she can do as president. But don’t take my word for it. Her record speaks for itself:
(1) The Paycheck Fairness Act: Hillary Clinton introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that provides more effective remedies to victims of discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages several times in her career as a senator: in 2005, 2007 and 2009. As explained by the ACLU, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 has been unable to achieve its goals of closing the wage gap because it lacks the tools and remedies needed to enforce the act. The Paycheck Fairness Act would update the Equal Pay Act to provide the government the tools it needs to make equal pay a reality. Hillary Clinton has proven this is a law she will fight for.
(2) The Hyde Amendment: The Hyde Amendment is a federal policy that prohibits federal funding for abortions except to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape and incest. Thus, Medicaid will not cover abortions, leaving poor women to have to pay out-of-pocket for a procedure that costs hundreds of dollars, if not more. Hillary Clinton has opposed the Hyde amendment for years and has brought it up on the campaign trail, a move that was called “unusual” for a Democratic candidate.
(3) Access to Emergency Contraception: While in the Senate, Hillary Clinton constantly fought to expand access to emergency contraception. She has been called Plan B’s greatest advocate, and went as far as to block the nomination of the head of the FDA until the agency made a decision as to whether to make Plan B available over the counter. A year later, the FDA ultimately decided to make Plan B available over the counter.
(4) Access to Birth Control: Hillary Clinton fought against and helped to defeat a proposal to define birth control, including IUDs, as abortion and that would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states that are obligated to offer contraception and abortion to women.
(5) National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: Hillary Clinton helped launch the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a non-ideological organization that helps reduce teen pregnancies by promoting the use of contraception and supporting sex education.
(6) CARE Act: As senator, Hillary Clinton introduced the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, an act that would require hospitals receiving federal funds to provide medical assistance to victims of sexual assault, including access to emergency contraception.
(7) Support of Planned Parenthood: Hillary Clinton is the most vocal proponent of Planned Parenthood, earning her its endorsement. She has made several speeches arguing passionately and explicitly for the right to abortion, noting that “family planning is an important part of women’s health. And reproductive health includes access to abortion.”
(8) UN Population Fund: The UN Population Fund is an organization that promotes the improvement of reproductive health and supports programs in 150 countries, including drives to end obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation. The Population Fund also provides necessary medical services and supplies to women in poor and remote areas of the world. The Bush administration suspended funding of the UN Population Fund over allegations that the organization helped provide abortions. Hillary Clinton introduced the legislation to restore its funding.
(9) Office of Global Women’s Issues: As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton launched the Office of Global Women’s Issues, which seeks to “ensure that women’s issues are fully integrated in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy.” She also made gender equality one of the pillars of her long-term map for the State Department’s economic development and diplomatic efforts .
(10) International Council on Women’s Business Leadership: As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton also launched the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership, which promotes the “effective integration of business interests and women’s economic empowerment into overall foreign policy.” Hillary Clinton continues to speak out for women’s participation in the workplace, noting that the ICWBL is looking at “the most basic barriers [to enabling] girls to go onto higher education away from homes, all the way to how we get more women on corporate boards and executive positions.”
(11) 100 Women Initiative: In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 100 Women Initiative, an initiative aimed to help nurture women in leadership positions around the world. The initiative was an international exchange in which women representatives from government, civil society, business, media and academia traveled to cities across the United States to meet and share insights with U.S. counterparts.
And finally: 19.4%: The percentage of women in Congress. When women are not represented, we do not have a say in what is discussed or prioritized. Instead, we must depend on men to “do what is right for us” and that is not enough. It was a woman—it was Hillary Clinton—who understood that the right to emergency contraception is not sufficient; we must have access to it, and she did not give up until the FDA finally approved over-the-counter access. It is not enough to express support for equal pay; Hillary Clinton understands that words are meaningless without the tools to back them up, and thus introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act three times while in the Senate. Nor is it enough to just say women’s rights are a priority in our foreign policy. Hillary Clinton made women’s rights a priority by creating the Office of Global Women’s Issues and the International Council on Women’s Leadership. Even in her campaign, . Hillary does not just talk about gender equality. She implements it.