Women's Equality Act- Urgently Needed

A discussion on the importance of the Women's Equality Act.


In Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address we learned of his 10 point Women’s Equality Act. This comprehensive act addresses a myriad of issues including: strengthening order of protection laws for survivors of domestic violence, redressing pay inequality, closing loopholes in sex trafficking laws, tightening sexual harassment laws in the workplace, and protecting a woman’s freedom of choice. 

For many of us, this legislation is common sense, long overdue, and urgently needed. Women are being harmed financially, emotionally, and physically by our lack of action. This legislation is a step towards saying that violence against women and inequality is not acceptable in our homes, our workplaces, our county and our state.

Unfortunately, there are some in our state, and special interest groups from outside the state, who want to see this legislation fail. Some of the most vocal opposition is from the “pro-life” movement. I use the term “pro-life” in quotes because I feel “anti-choice” would be a more accurate term.

I believe that women are the ones who should make their reproductive health decisions and that we have no right to regulate a woman’s access to comprehensive reproductive health-care, including abortion as a choice. The silence the anti-choice movement has when we discuss femicide, sex trafficking, and domestic violence speaks volumes. 

On a very positive note, by including all of these reforms under one law, New York State is addressing the intersectionality of the marginalization of women in our state. From men’s violence against women (domestic violence and sex trafficking), to wage disparity, to policing women’s bodies; this legislation rightly places these reforms (often discussed in silos), on the table, together.  

I applaud this work and look forward to working towards its implementation. 

Because I know Patch readers love statistics here are some facts from the New York Division of Criminal Justice, Pew Research Center, and an analysis of census data from payequlity.org: 

  • Women's earnings were 77.0 percent of men's in 2011, according to Census statistics released September 12, 2012 based on the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers. Men's earning in 2011 were $48,202 and women's were $37,118, a difference of $11,084. Source: http://www.pay-equity.org
  • In New York in 2011, 44% of female homicide victims aged 16 and older were killed by an intimate partner. Source: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crimnet/ojsa/domestic-homicide-2011.pdf
  • 63% of Americans would NOT want Roe V. Wade overturned. Source: http://www.pewforum.org/Abortion/roe-v-wade-at-40.aspx

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BR Cannon January 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM
These things take time but President Obama now putting women in our military on the front lines and fighting alongside men is an important step toward leveling the playing field down the road. Well done.
Defender January 28, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Just to be clear, is the purpose of the military to further some grand goal of complete equality regardless of obvious physical differences, or is it to defend the country? The only question that should be asked when determining who gets to fight on the front lines is not "is it fair?" it's "does it make us and our soldiers more or less safe?
Defender January 28, 2013 at 02:52 PM
I would also pose a question to Mr. Coe - at what point is it not a choice? Since you dismiss the "pro-life" movement (and thereby about 50% of the country) as being a euphemism for "anti-choice," it's only fair to ask when you think the "choice" becomes a "life"? Is it viability outside the womb? Full gestation? Legs out but head still inside?
James Adnaraf February 03, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Mr Coe- we should not stereotype gays, and we/you should not stereotype pro-life people. Both groups are quite diverse. The more I read Mr. Coe's articles, the more I view him as one who likes to exploit his own suffering as a gay person to advance a political agenda. Such an agenda is not something all gays share by any means. Essentially, Mr. Coe's approach is - I have been a victim, so I have a special knowledge of discrimination in all areas, and you better listen to me. Not a good way to influence opposing views and create dialogue. Mr. Coe also likes to cite polls. Great. What percentage of people supported same sex marriage ten years ago? Did Mr. Coe give up his agenda when the polls were against him? And, if you drill down on the Roe v Wade polls, you see most Americans favor more restrictions on abortion than the raw poll data indicates. One final thing- it may some day be possible to determine, while in the womb, the pre-disposition of the fetus to be gay. Mr. Coe, should it be legal for a woman to abort a fetus at five month gestation if the tests show it will likely grow up to be gay?
James Adnaraf February 04, 2013 at 04:45 AM
Mr Coe loves to quote only those stats that are to his convenience, after he has told us about his educational accomplishments. With his high IQ, he should be able to nuance his thoughts a bit, but why should he? Here are some different views of the gap relating to female/male earnings: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576250672504707048.html http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-the-gender-pay-gap-is-just-a-myth-2011-3?op=1


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