Government

Buttigieg rolls out women's agenda for 'Building Power'

Plan covers pay, child care, abortion, leadership positions

Pete Buttigieg poses for selfies after an Aug. 15 town hall in Fairfield. The Democratic presidential hopeful is releasing a women’s policy agenda today. (Andy Hallman/Southeast Iowa Union)
Pete Buttigieg poses for selfies after an Aug. 15 town hall in Fairfield. The Democratic presidential hopeful is releasing a women’s policy agenda today. (Andy Hallman/Southeast Iowa Union)

Pete Buttigieg is rolling out a women’s policy agenda today that calls for closing the pay gap, increasing women’s numbers in leadership, improving women’s health and protecting the right to abortion.

“Especially in the last three years, we’ve watched women lead powerful movements for justice,” the South Bend mayor and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said.

However, he said, “women’s freedom can’t depend on Washington — it can only come from systematically building women’s power in our economy, our political system and in every part of our society.”

Buttigieg said he would invest $10 billion to end workplace sexual harassment and discrimination against women, ensure equal pay for work, give Americans access to 12 weeks of paid family leave and make high-quality child care available free to low-income families and affordable for all.

According to Buttigieg, annual median earnings for Iowa women are $39,658 compared to $50,295 for men.

For an average Iowa family of four with an infant and a toddler, he said, child care, at $1,031 per month, is more costly than rent, at $659.

The average annual cost of infant care is 115.7 percent of the cost of tuition and fees at a four-year Iowa college, he said.

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As president, he said, at least 50 percent of his nominations for Cabinet and judicial positions would be women, and he would support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and building a Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.

His Medicare for All Who Want It plan would address the lack of health care insurance faced by more than 10 million women and would end health care policies that restrict women’s freedom.

To address the 16 percent increase in infant mortality — from 15.4 to 17.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in Iowa — he would incentivize more OB-GYNs to work in rural areas and increase reimbursement rates for providers in underserved areas.

Buttigieg said he would codify the right to an abortion and expand access to family planning and reproductive services.

Because one in four women in the United States experiences domestic violence over the course of her life and domestic violence accounts for 21 percent of all violent crime, Buttigieg called for passing the Equality Act and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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