With the US Presidential Election just eight months away, US politicians are battling it out for votes across America. To win any election, candidates need women on their side. Female voters have a lot to base their decision on this November. In honour of International Women’s Day, here are the top four things female voters will be thinking about.
Paid family leave Children might not be on every woman’s mind right now; however, the next president of the United States will be around for at least four, maybe even eight years. Some women who have or are considering having children fear America’s lack of paid family leave. Unlike other developed countries, the United States does not have guaranteed paid maternity leave. In a statement about paid leave, Hilary Clinton said, “For many workers, staying home to take care of a sick child or an ageing parent means losing a pay check – or worse, even losing a job.” Clinton is hoping to pass laws which guarantee up to twelve weeks of family leave. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's opponent, supports a twelve week paid family leave plan and sponsored a bill in Congress called the Family Act, which would fund a leave through a small payroll tax.
The Gender Pay Gap Obama has made great strides in closing the gender pay gap by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and pushing for research into the difference in pay between genders. Despite his efforts, women still earn just $0.79 for every dollar men do, even when job experience and education are the same as men. The next President will have to push even further to encourage people to fight the problem and prevent employers from taking advantage of female employees. Hilary Clinton has suggested more transparency around the difference in salaries: “Too many people view it as a woman’s issue as opposed to what it truly is – an economic growth issue.”
Minimum wage increase 60% of minimum wage–earning employees are women. That means a boost of the minimum wage would be extremely beneficial to women. Some cities and states have passed minimum wage increases on their own; however, the future President has a lot of influence on how widespread and major these increases will be. Today, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Clinton and Sanders both want that figure to increase, though Sanders is pushing for a higher wage at $15 an hour. Donald Trump is against boosting the wage from $7.25.
Debt-free education 2015’s college graduating classes were the most in debt of all time. With mounting student debt, politicians are debating how to manage these loans, and whether some schools should be free altogether. Both Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wish to see a decrease in these debts; Clinton is even pushing for a debt-free community college and debt refinancing whilst Bernie Sanders is pushing for free public college nationwide. When Trump was asked by a student female voter how he would deal with the issue of the ever increasing student debt, Trump simply answered, “I’m going to solve the problem, okay?”
By Yasmina, Cristy, Blanca and Valentina, Francis Holland School