5 Important Issues That Matter to Women in the 2016 Presidential Election

TeenVogue: by Polly Mosendz —

With the presidential election just eight months away, politicians are battling it out for the hearts and minds of voters across America. To win any election, candidates need women on their side: According to the Center for American Women and Politics, women have cast more votes than men in every presidential election since 1964. Here’s what female voters have at stake in November.

Access to Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has been a major talking point for both conservative and liberal candidates, with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton backing the nonprofit women’s healthcare organization. On the right, candidates are widely opposed to both federal funding for Planned Parenthood and, in some cases, its mere existence. Their main beef with the organization is over abortion, which accounts for about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s total annual services. Across the country, Planned Parenthood helps millions of women gain access to contraception, cancer screenings, and STD tests, but abortion is always the first thing on the minds of politicians who address the group.

While Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have been outspoken about their disdain of Planned Parenthood, with Rubio even calling for a ban on abortion for rape and incest victims, frontrunner Donald Trump has admitted the nonprofit helps millions of women a year. Despite recognizing this, Trump said he would push to defund Planned Parenthood because of abortion.

Paid Family Leave

Children might not be on your mind now, but the next president will be around for at least four, maybe eight years. For women with babies on the brain, America’s lack of paid family leave can be difficult to deal with. Unlike other developed nations, the United States doesn’t have guaranteed paid maternity leave. “For many workers, staying home to take care of a sick child or an aging parent means losing a paycheck — or worse, even losing a job,” Hillary Clinton said in a statement about paid leave. “That is an impossible choice we shouldn’t ask anyone to make — and yet American workers are forced to make it every day.” Clinton is hoping to pass laws which guarantee up to 12 weeks of family leave.

Her opponent Bernie Sanders also supports a 12-week paid family leave plan and co-sponsored a bill in Congress with 18 other Democrats, called the FAMILY Act, that would fund such leave through a small payroll tax. As for conservatives, Marco Rubio doesn’t want to legislate the plan, but is hoping for at least four weeks of leave.. “I think maternity leave and paternity leave are wonderful things. I support them personally,” Ted Cruz said when asked about leave, according to Yahoo News. “But I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of mandating them.”

The Gender Pay Gap

The Obama administration has made great strides in closing the gender pay gap by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and pushing for further research into salaries. Despite the president’s efforts, women still earn just $.79 for every dollar men do, even when job experience and education are the same as their male coworkers.

The next president will have to push for further oversight to prevent employers from taking advantage of female employees. Clinton, the only woman running for president in 2016, has pushed for more transparency around salaries. “Too many people view it as a women’s issue as opposed to what it truly is — it’s an economic growth issue,” Clintonsaid last October. “And it will be great for the American economy when we finally close that gap.”

Fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders also supports closing the gender pay gap. He pushed for the Paycheck Fairness Act and wants to make sure women of color are also paid equally to white women. Currently, Hispanic women earn $.55 for every dollar a white man makes and black women earn $.60. Trump, when asked directly about the gender pay gap, replied: “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act Sanders supported, arguing it is “already illegal to pay women less than men.”

Minimum Wage Increase

According to the Department of Labor, nearly 6 in 10 minimum wage-earning employees are women. That means a boost to the minimum wage nationwide would help female laborers tremendously. What’s more, the Department of Labor determined that a boost in the minimum wage helps reduce child poverty in homes led by a matriarch.

Some cities and states have passed minimum wage increases on their own, but the next president has a lot of influence on how widespread these increases will be. Today, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour nationwide. Clinton and Sanders both want increases, though Sanders is pushing for a higher wage at $15 an hour.

Rubio and Trump are against boosting the wage from $7.25. “In the 21st century, it’s a disaster,” Rubio said during a debate last year. “If you raise the minimum wage you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine.” John Kasich, also a Republican, said he supports “reasonable” increases to the minimum wage.

Debt-Free Education

Last year’s college graduating class was the most indebted of all time, with tens of thousands to pay back for their time spent learning. With mounting student debt, politicians are debating how to manage these loans, and if some schools should be free altogether.

Clinton and Sanders both want to see college get more affordable, with frontrunner Clinton pushing for debt-free community college and debt refinancing. Sanders is pushing for free public college nationwide as well as lower interest rates and refinancing options for existing student debt. Rubio is also pushing for student debt reform through a universal, income-based repayment system.

Asked by a young female voter how he would deal with mounting student debt, Trumpanswered, “I’m going to solve the problem, okay?”

Just another friendly reminder to vote in your states’ primaries and caucuses and to make sure you’re registered to vote in the general election this November.

Origional Post here:  http://www.teenvogue.com/story/important-womens-issues-2016-election


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