The United States’ population is 318.9 million people and steadily rising. Divided by sex, that is approximately 162 million women versus approximately 156 million men. These statistics lend themselves to many questions: How can women be so underrepresented when they make up the majority of a population? Why is inequality for women still an issue?
In light of the recent International Women’s Day and through the lens of the current election process, it is important to take a close look at the Presidential candidates and their stances on women’s issues such as equal pay and women’s health. In a country where women are the majority, their rights and needs should be adequately addressed by anyone who takes on the role of President of the United States.
Donald J. Trump
“Public funding of abortion providers is an insult to people of conscience at the least and an affront to good governance at best.”
Donald J. Trump has been known to flip-flop on the issue of abortion. At one point in the past, Trump was known to be pro-choice. However, he has now been quoted as “anti-abortion with exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother”.
On the issue of equal pay, the businessman is known to be supportive of equal pay for equal work as long as the work is truly equivalent. He also thinks that women should have complete access to capital.
Another aspect of Trump’s stance on women that should be acknowledged is his various quotes made about women. He has reportedly called women he doesn’t like “fat pigs”, “dogs, “slobs”, and “disgusting animals”. He also consistently “insulted, belittled, sexualized, and stereotyped women”.
“I understand that if you exclude women you are not as effective.”
John Kasich is a “firm abortion opponent”. In June 2013, Kasich signed into law a bill to ban most abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy with the only exception being if the life of the mother is in danger. This legislation also cut funding to Planned Parenthood. As Governor of Ohio, Kasich provided state funding to rape crisis centers.
On the issue of equal pay, Kasich’s campaign does not make a clear statement, although he proposes several initiatives to “lift up the most vulnerable Americans.” In the past, Kasich has made comments about the wage gap being related to skill and experience, quickly taking that back, claiming “I understand that if you exclude women, you’re not as effective.”
“We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in defense of marriage and life.”
Ted Cruz’s website does not feature a “women’s rights” section but rather a “Life, Marriage, and Family” segment. Within this section, Cruz states that “life is a precious gift from God [that we must] cherish and defend.” This speaks to Cruz’s staunch pro-life stance. His website also states that “he will instruct his Attorney General to investigate Planned Parenthood” immediately should he be elected.
Although Cruz’s campaign site does not make any statements in regards to equal pay for women, during his time as Senator, Cruz has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act three times.
“If a country doesn’t recognize minority rights and human rights, including women’s rights, you will not have the kind of stability and prosperity that is possible”
Hillary Clinton has long been a supporter of women’s rights. Her campaign states that, if elected to office, it will ensure equal pay for women, defend women’s health and reproductive rights against attacks, and fight for paid family leave and affordable child care. Clinton vows to work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to fight workplace discrimination and she will stand up to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. In addition, Clinton would like to address the issue of violence against women. With her international experience, Clinton also plans to promote equality for women around the world.
“We aren’t going back. Not only are we not going to retreat on women’s rights, we’re going to expand them. We are going forward, not backward.”
Bernie Sanders also supports many of the same initiatives and beliefs as Ms. Clinton. He maintains that “the decisions about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government”. He does not support the right-wing push to defund Planned Parenthood and would rather expand the organization to provide more accessible healthcare. To further support women, especially mothers, Sanders proposes providing at least twelve weeks of paid family leave, two weeks of paid vacation, and one week of paid sick days and to expand the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program for pregnant mothers and infants. His other stances to promote women’s rights include only nominating Supreme Court Justices who support Roe v. Wade and working to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.