Throughout my career I have always been a strong ally and advocate for women’s rights both in and outside the workplace. The struggle for civil rights and workers rights have long been intertwined, and data has consistently shown that both men and women in unions earn substantially more and have significantly more benefits than those who are non-unionized. While the pay gap between non-unionized women and men is 78 cents to the dollar, working women in unions are paid 94 cents for every dollar paid to unionized men, and hourly wages for women represented by unions are 23% higher than for nonunionized women [Link].
I was honored to help author and pass the 2014 New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.
I also support family friendly policies such as implementing a federal family/medical leave policy that would guarantee at least 6 weeks of paid leave for all Americans. No one should have to worry about losing their job or income when they are injured or have a sick family member. Many new mothers are forced to make a heart wrenching decision after giving birth of whether to immediately go back to work, or whether to quit their jobs in order to raise their infant. Many mothers who decide to leave their jobs find it extremely difficult to get back into the workforce, and when they do they find that their pay significantly lags behind their male co-workers who did not take leaves of absence.
While working women and their families certainly benefit from organizing and expanding labor protections, they also need to know that their privacy and freedom of choice will not be infringed. I am a strong supporter of a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body, and would vehemently oppose any unnecessary or excessive restrictions on access to birth control, abortion, or health services. I would support expanding access to family planning and health services to low income areas, and support federal legislation to enshrine a women’s right to choose into law in order to prevent the recurrence of bills like the recent 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.