Monday, October 29, 2012
Kaine will protect women's rights
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From the RoundTable blog
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The Nov. 6 election is about the economy and women's issues. The well-being of the economy and women are intertwined. Our nation will reach its full potential when women are allowed to participate equally in every aspect of our economy. Women are better job creators than the rich.
The World Bank defines "smart economics" as investing in women. Research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as reported on the Calvert Foundation website, shows that the economic growth of women has an important multiplier effect because women are more likely to share their economic gains with their families and communities at large. Women reinvest 90 percent of their earnings in their families and communities by spending more earned income on food, health care, home improvement and schooling for themselves and their children.
Women own 40 percent of U.S. businesses. Businesses that start with higher amounts of capital usually have higher levels of assets, revenues and employment. The report notes that though U.S. women-owned businesses start up with only 64 percent of the capital levels of businesses owned by men, the women-owned businesses grow at twice the rate of U.S. firms as a whole.
It is estimated that a reduction in barriers for women to be able to participate equally in our nation's economy could increase America's Gross Domestic Product by 9 percent. Female entrepreneurs in the U.S. own more than 10 million businesses and employ more than 19 million workers, which is one in every seven employees.
The Family and Medical Leave Act helped to reduce a barrier for women who were torn between caring for their families and protecting their careers. When an employee returns from family leave, she must be returned to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status and other terms and conditions of employment." This allows a woman who needs to take care of her family the ability to continue her career from the point where she had to leave, as long as she returns in 12 weeks. George Allen voted against the family leave act when he was in the Senate.
The Violence Against Women Act helped to address another barrier preventing women from gainful employment. Domestic violence has dropped by 60 percent since it was signed into law. The National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter asking Congress to reauthorize the act; 53 state and territorial attorneys general signed the letter, but Virginia's Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not. It is distressing that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to pass the Senate bill to reauthorize it.
The Paycheck Fairness Act was created to improve the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the first bill President Obama signed, that requires women be given equal pay for equal work. This act would give women the right to receive back pay to compensate them if they weren't paid fairly. Republicans filibustered the PFA this past summer. This leaves women with the promise of equal pay for equal work without having the ability to recoup money owed to them. When women are cheated out of pay, we all lose, as our economy is deprived the stimulation of the reinvestment in families and communities. Republicans need to stop playing politics with women's rights.
Tim Kaine encouraged his wife, Ann Holton, to pursue her career when there was an opening on the bench at the same time that he was running for mayor of Richmond. Holton wasn't sure how they would be able to make it work with their three children still in school. Kaine assured her that they would be able to do it together. Judge's dockets don't have flexibility, but mayor's schedules do. Kaine made sure that when the children needed a parent, he was there.
Kaine attended a Unite for Women rally held in Richmond last April. Kaine showed up unexpectedly in the crowd to support women as a son, a husband and a father. When Kaine was our governor, Virginia was the best managed state in our nation and voted the best place to raise a child.
Democrats will support our economy's recovery because they support women equally participating in our economy. Republicans would push women's rights backward. Let's move forward, Virginia. Vote for Kaine.