Indiana ranks among the worst in the country when it comes to the pay gap. According to a recent study, the state ranks 44th with women earning just 75 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Women have long been punished financially if they chose to take care of children over their careers, and are discriminated against in the hiring process. Women are often forced to take part-time positions which provide less in benefits, retirement savings, and insurance options. This trend has worsened during the pandemic.
There are a few steps the state could take to address the issue:
- Affordable Childcare: When families have access to affordable high-quality childcare, women are able to stay in the workforce.
- Raise the state’s minimum wage: The current minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25, far below what constitutes a “living wage.” In order to be competitive, the state should join 28 others that have increased the minimum wage above the federal minimum.
- Paid maternity leave: The state currently has no laws in place for employees of private businesses to provided maternity leave.
- Encourage businesses in the state to regularly review hiring practices and salaries to ensure women are receiving equal opportunities and fair wages.
- Require businesses submitting applications for state contracts to provide verification that they do not discriminate on the basis of gender.
In Indiana, 40% of women (and 27% of men) report being victims of domestic violence ranging from physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking (this number does not include those in emotionally abusive relationships). Women in abusive relationships are often pressured to remain in the relationship due to family responsibilities and financial dependence (another reason to address the pay gap discussed above).
Below are steps the state should take in addressing the issue of domestic violence:
- Close the pay gap: In many cases, women feel trapped in abusive relationships for financial reasons.
- Levy harsher penalties against abusers.
- Continue supporting/expand hotlines and support centers for victims of abuse.
- Prohibit dating abusers and stalkers from possessing firearms.
- Require persons charged with domestic violence to surrender firearms and ammunition.
While discussing women’s issues with my wife and daughters the mysterious absence of pockets in women’s clothing was discussed as a “women’s issue”. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done with regards to the pocket situation from a state representative position, but I do feel your pain.
Republican-controlled legislatures across the country are working feverishly to pass the most draconian measures with regards to a woman’s access to abortion services. In what can only be seen as a race to the bottom, women are being treated as criminals for exercising a well-established right long ago decided by the Supreme Court.
Republican lawmakers in at least 12 states have introduced bills modeled after the Texas ban, which empowers private citizens to sue ANYONE who helps facilitate an abortion after the legal limit (an UBER driver that transports a woman to an abortion clinic, a secretary scheduling the appointment, etc).
Idaho has passed a bill that “would allow the father, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle of the fetus to bring legal action against the medical professional who performed the abortion if a heartbeat had been detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.”
A bill being considered in Tennessee would “ban abortion outright, with no exception for rape and incest, and allow a rapist’s family to sue people who help his victim get abortion care.” Yes, you read that right, a rape victim can be sued by family members of the rapist shall the victim decide to abort the pregnancy.
Republicans are fixated on overturning Roe v Wade and, per usual, are more interested in fighting culture wars than governing. This trend WILL make its way to Indiana, likely in the next legislative session.
Instead of focusing on providing contraception, better sex education, and support for women considering abortion, these so-called pro-lifers prefer to shame women. Passing bills meant to punish and control women, stripping them of their humanity and their sexuality, while doing nothing to address the men in the equation.
My opponent, Representative Zent, will likely put his religious beliefs above the interests of Hoosiers. At a time when women need allies and advocates willing to stand up for their rights, better representation is essential.