Virginia NOW is proud and excited to be a founding member of the Virginia Women's Equality Coalition. The Virginia Women's Equality Agenda Coalition is a powerhouse, and one of its major pushes in the 2015 session of the General Assembly will be to Ratify the ERA!! The coalition has more than one issue to support, however. You'll hear news about all those other vital issues over at VA NOW in Action, and in our regular social media and emails (Legislative Update). The ERA, however, will keep its own blog and emails (ERA Update).
This group of some of Virginia's most active and powerful advocacy organizations will ask our members to raise your voices, and get your fingers moving to support legislation essential to all women and communities in the Commonwealth. Here's what we'll be working on:
The Virginia Women's Equality Coalition
Promoting women’s health and safety by repealing Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, and ensuring that survivors of domestic violence are not driven into poverty.
Advancing women’s economic opportunity by making sure women receive equal pay for equal work, a living wage to support their families, and paid sick days so they can care for themselves and their children.
Protecting democratic participation by ensuring that Virginia women can cast their votes without unequal or undue barriers.
Are you ready to stand with us? Become a citizen co-sponsor of the 2015 Virginia Women’s Equality Agenda now! Sign-on and stay informed!
Women’s Health and Safety
- Repeal the mandatory ultrasound statute (SB733 and HB1524)
Health care decisions should be between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith -- or simply her own conscience -- NOT politicians. Politicians should not interfere in private medical decisions.
- Close the coverage gap (Included in Governor McAuliffe’s proposed amendments)
For millions of women, Medicaid makes the difference between access to cancer screenings and birth control or going without. If Virginia fails to expand Medicaid, 112,642 women of reproductive age will fall into the coverage gap.
- Protect birth control access (Not yet filed)
The vast majority of women use birth control during their lifetime but more than a third has struggled to afford it. No one’s boss should be able to dictate her health care decisions.
- Provide unemployment benefits for victims of domestic violence who are forced to leave their job (HB1430)
Victims of domestic violence should have to suffer again from losing economic security.
- Ensure equal pay (SB772)
Women deserve to be paid fairly. It’s that simple. Ensuring women are compensated fairly is a vital step in building a Virginia that works for everyone.
- Expand access to paid sick days (Not yet filed)
Everybody gets sick, but not everybody can afford to take time off to get better or care for a sick kid. Over one million Virginia workers don’t have a paid sick day. That means when they or a family member get sick, they have to choose
between jeopardizing public health or risking their family’s economic security.
- Raise the minimum wage (SB681)
Women who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. Six in 10 low wage workers are women and 300,000 kids live in a household that would see a income increase from raising the wage.
- Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (HJ495 and SJ216)
Sex discrimination should get the highest level of strict judicial scrutiny, just as race discrimination does, but it currently
receives only a heightened level of intermediate scrutiny. Only a federal ERA can provide the highest and broadest level of legal protection against sex discrimination. (See also Virginia ERA Network for our ratification focus.)
- Establish no-fault in-person absentee voting (SB677). For many women, juggling work, school, and childcare to get to the polls on Election Day is simply too much. Expanding the opportunities to vote will expand women’s participation in our democracy and our ability to make our voices heard.
- Ensure impartial election maps. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. In too many parts of Virginia, women don’t have a say in choosing their representatives because the election outcome has already been rigged.