E- Newsletter: Women's History Month
This month we celebrate women’s history and the extraordinary contributions women have made to our nation. It is also a time to reaffirm our commitment to advancing women’s rights.
This Women's History Month comes at an exciting but also troublesome time in American history. While women play a vital, indispensable role in our country, when it comes to women's rights, some in Washington are determined to take us backwards. In recent weeks we have seen an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would leave 24 million fewer Americans – including millions of women and girls – without healthcare.
I am also concerned about continuous attacks on a woman’s right to choose. Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides essential health services, would leave millions of women without access to adequate healthcare. Additionally, President Trump has nominated a Supreme Court Justice who would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Like men, women deserve the right to control their own bodies, and I stand firm against any attempt to set women’s health back a century.
While we need to defeat efforts to take women and our country backwards, we also need to take proactive steps to empower women. It is an embarrassment that in 2017, women continue to make on average only 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. Women of color face an even larger gap. While women contribute $647 million to the economy in New Jersey every day, they would have to work until April 4th of 2017, to simply earn what men did in 2016. We must close the wage gap and strengthen equal pay laws. That is why I support the Paycheck Fairness Act and ending pay discrimination.
I am deeply encouraged by the millions of women who have showed a renewed enthusiasm in making their voices heard. In January, I was proud to join women in Asbury Park, Trenton and throughout the country marching to fight for equality. Last week, a powerful message was also sent when many women went on strike to emphasize the enormous contributions women make to our economy. We all have the opportunity to bring about change in our communities and it’s inspiring so many women are doing just that.
During this time, we can reflect on some of the amazing women who have done so much to move our country forward. One of those leaders was New Jersey’s Alice Paul, who faced extraordinary challenges as a leader in the struggle to earn the right to vote. She faced a political system that refused to listen and bring about change for women. For simply demanding equality, Paul was imprisoned and faced brutality, including being force fed after going on a hunger strike. Her courage and the courage of so many other women led to the adoption of the 19th Amendment and forever changed our country for the better.
This March, we should look to the example of women like Alice Paul who fought so hard to bring about equality. They did not give up against enormous odds and we too must continue to fight for a better future for our daughters and granddaughters.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.