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Letter: Pass Women’s Rights Legislation in Albany (Newsday)

To the Editor:

Women’s rights pioneers met at Seneca Falls in 1848 to organize a campaign for equality. Women’s History Month is a perfect time to reflect on the enormous progress we’ve made since that historic gathering. It’s also an opportunity to tackle enduring barriers to women’s full and equal participation in society.

Today in New York, working mothers are less likely to be hired or promoted and make less than men with the same jobs. Overall, working women earn $8,275 less on average annually than men. They are five times more likely to be victims of sexual harassment, and more than twice as likely to encounter housing or lending discrimination. Meanwhile, women’s reproductive health and decision making – essential to equal opportunity – is threatened in courts and legislatures across the country.

The Women’s Equality Agenda, Governor Cuomo’s landmark legislative proposal, will tackle these and other challenges facing women. It includes measures to help achieve pay equity; extend sexual harassment laws to all workplaces; and protect pregnant women and single mothers (or fathers) from employment discrimination. Moreover, it would align state law with existing federal protections for reproductive health care.

With these sensible reforms, little girls in Long Island will grow up knowing that New York is a place where success depends only on talent and effort, not your gender.

Jason Starr
Amol Sinha
The writers are, respectively, the directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Nassau County and Suffolk County chapters.

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