Here's a test, in three YouTube-friendly steps. Watch these videos and consider how you feel about the state of women's rights in our country:
1) In the aftermath of the release of horrifying footage of football player Ray Rice beating his fiancee unconscious, we've seen the shockingly inappropriate response of the NFL and its commissioner unfold. Watch this video of longtime sports anchor Hannah Storm demand accountability from the NFL on behalf of her daughters, and on behalf of fans. Storm's daughter asked her of Rice, "Mom, why didn't he get fired"? And we have no good answer, in Rice's case and in too many other cases of domestic and sexual violence.
2) Watch this video of possible presidential contender Senator Rand Paul as he discusses his "Life at Conception Act," a so-called "personhood" bill, which would grant legal rights to zygotes at fertilization. Say goodbye to your IUD ladies. What's even worse is the fact that in Texas, more than half of all abortion clinics were forced to shut down last week following a US Fifth Circuit federal appeals court ruling. There are only 7 clinics left in the largest state. Which state is next?
3) Nationwide, American women make on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, adding up to nearly $500,000 in lost wages over a woman's career. African American women can expect to make only 66 cents compared to all other men, and Latinas only 58 cents. However, as John Oliver points out, many of our nation's leaders and pundits actually try to defend the pay gap or minimize it, rather than trying to fix things.
But here's the good news: If you live in New York State, you can actually help change things and codify equal rights for women by voting for the Women's Equality Party on Election Day, November 4.
The Women's Equality Party is first political party dedicated to women's equality. If 50,000 New Yorkers cast their vote on the WEP line on Election Day, we will have formed the first ever Women's Equality Party in the nation, and taken a real, tangible step towards equality. This is about much more than one election. It's about making a better future for all the women (and men) in New York State.
Here is what the Women's Equality Party stands for. If voted in on November 4, the Party will ensure New Yorkers can support candidates who support women.
1. Establish Pay Equity for Women
2. Stop Sexual Harassment in Every Workplace
3. Stop Businesses from Discriminating against Pregnant Women
4. Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
5. End Hiring and Salary Discrimination Against Parents
6. Stop Landlord Discrimination Against Women Who Depend on Housing Assistance
7. Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
8. Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys' Fees in Employment and Credit and Lending Cases
9. Protect Victims of Domestic Violence by Strengthening Order-of-Protection Laws
10. Apply the full standards of Roe v. Wade in New York
In addition, these candidates also pledge to support passing new legislation that will subject colleges and universities in New York to new oversight and reform how they handle sexual assaults, including incidents involving rape, that are reported on their campuses.
It's such an important precedent, and one I hope other states will adopt.
Because let's face it, we're too often outraged without options. It's not often these days voters have a solution to righting wrongs -- I believe the Women's Equality Party offers a fantastic start. Too bad I live in Massachusetts. Let's get on this, shall we, Martha Coakley?