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Women’s Equality

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To The Editor:

On June 4 there will be a rally at the State Capitol in Albany to show support for the Women’s Equality Agenda. Passage of WEA legislation will go a long way towards leveling the playing field for the women of New York.

The current unequal economic status of women in the state is not hard to see.

At present, women in New York earn 84 percent of what men earn, and that disparity is even greater for African American and Hispanic women. This inequality persists throughout the course of a woman’s life, meaning a woman is twice as likely as a man to live out old age in poverty.

In addition, women who are pregnant or have children are less likely to be hired, promoted, or given raises. So it should come as no surprise that 88 percent of public assistance cases for families are filed by women, and 71 percent of public housing units are occupied by female-headed households.

The Women’s Equality Agenda includes provisions that would advance pay equity, and stop discrimination against pregnant workers and low-income families. Other provisions would protect domestic violence survivors and victims of sexual harassment in the work place. Women are five times more likely than men to be sexually harassed, and one in four women will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime.

The WEA would also protect reproductive freedom in New York State without, contrary to what you may have heard, making any additional procedures legal in the state that are not already allowed under Federal and New York law.

The Governor recognizes that full equality for the women of New York cannot be achieved by taking partial steps or by focusing solely on a single barrier to equality, and more than 800 organizations and businesses have joined the coalition in support. If you are interested in learning more, and in joining us in Albany on June 4, visit the New York Women’s Equality Coalition at nywomensequality.org , or facebook.com/NYWomensEquality.

Kathleen Stein

President, League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County

Public Policy Chair, American Association of University Women, SLC Branch

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