Women’s and Family Issues
Study after study (not to mention real life) has found that when women are educated and supported, families and society function better. I have seen it with my own eyes countless times, all over the world. It does not matter how progressive or conservative the society – it just functions better, which means children do better, too. To accomplish this, we need:
- Equal pay for equal work. It cannot be – must not be – that in the 21st century, women in Iowa still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Equal pay for equal work must be mandated by law. We also need a livable wage.
- Paid family leave. The U.S. lags far behind when it comes to paid family leave. Canada mandates 35 weeks for both parents combined, and Germany manages 12-14 months without their economies grinding to a halt. The U.S. holds the unenviable title of being the only industrialized country that does not offer all of its citizens paid family leave. In 2016, only 14% of civilian workers had access to paid leave. Parents should not fear job loss to take time with a newborn or a newly adopted child.
- Affordable, accessible daycare. It is good – and necessary – for families and for the economy. Parents work. Parents of young children need good quality, affordable, accessible daycare. And not just in the larger metropolitan areas – it is one of the keys to economic development in our smaller towns and cities.
- Alleviate the cliff effect. This is particularly insidious with Child Care Assistance (CCA). The CCA does not phase out gradually as wages rise, as do some other public benefits – it cuts off abruptly, so that even a small wage hike can produce a massive cut in benefits, with a parent faced with the loss of CCA. It is a disincentive to accept a higher wage or more hours – that does not help women, men, families or for that matter, our economy.
- Access to reproductive health care. This keeps everyone healthy. It should be a no brainer. Access to birth control, to high quality OB/GYN care, to STD testing. Come on, folks, let’s not continue going backwards. Woman must have access – and not have to drive hours to get it.
- Pro-choice. A decision must be between a woman and her healthcare provider, full stop. Unfortunately, in today’s climate, I have to add: without legislative threat of criminalizing her doctor’s decision or hers; without legislative threat to cut off that decision before she may even know she is pregnant or has a chance to have any testing done; without legislative threat to take away this right, even in the case of rape or incest; without legislative threat to eliminate this option even for those we all still consider children themselves.