NYC
02/21/2013 05:17 pm ET Updated Feb 21, 2013

Gloria Steinem Pressures NYC Speaker Christine Quinn On Paid Sick Leave Bill

Iconic feminist Gloria Steinem is threatening to withdraw her support for New York City mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn if Quinn continues to prevent the Council from voting on a popular paid sick leave bill.

Quinn, a Democrat, would be the first openly lesbian mayor of New York City, which has attracted the support of some prominent feminists and female leaders in the city. But she has blocked a vote on the Paid Sick Time Act for more than 1,000 days, despite the fact that it has the support of a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in the Council. The measure would allow employees to earn up to 5 paid sick days a year and to use their days when a child is ill, and Quinn has said that the bill will threaten New York's fragile economy.

Steinem told The New York Times on Wednesday that she cares more about the paid sick leave bill than breaking a glass ceiling.

“Making life fairer for all women seems more important than breaking a barrier for one woman,” Steinem said.

Steinem also signed her name to a half-page ad in The New York Times on Thursday that urged Quinn to bring the Paid Sick Time Act to a vote.

"Without paid sick days, too many working women and men face an impossible choice between their family's health and their financial security when they get sick," the ad says. "A majority of the City Council Supports this proposal. We ask you to allow the democratic process to work."

The ad was also signed by hundreds of other feminists and female leaders, including Ai-Jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Shelby Knox, the subject of the documentary called "The Education of Shelby Knox" about a young feminist growing up in Texas.

Quinn released a statement on Wednesday calling the bill a "worthy and admirable goal" and said she is willing to discuss it "in the context of the evolving economy."

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