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