Women make up only 19% of the Michigan legislature, even though we are 53% of the electorate. At the same time the United States Congress is at a 20 year-high for female membership, Michigan is at a 20 year-low for elected women. When a political body is that imbalanced, policies that hurt women’s freedom and choice are enacted into law. We need to have conversations in Lansing that reflect who we are as a state.
Christine believes that women are generally more focused to sit together and work out a solution. After all, it was a bi-partisan women’s caucus that solved the 2013 impasse of another government shutdown in the U.S. Congress.
Protecting Reproductive Rights
It’s hard to believe that in 2014 that women across America are trying to hold onto their hard earned rights to make decisions about their own bodies. In a recent Rolling Stones article, Michigan was names as “ground zero” for male-dominated state legislatures passing outrageous legislation, the most recent being what’s known as “Michigan’s Rape Insurance Law.” Christine will work to empower women by working to protect women’s choices and privacy in these personal decisions.
Championing Equal Pay and Reducing the Gender Earnings Gap
It’s a fact: women are paid less than men for equal work. The American Association of University Women (of which Christine is a member) recently published a comprehensive report of the state of Pay Equity. Christine will fight for women who work hard every day to make a living to support themselves and their families.
Michigan ranks 45 out of the 50 states and Washington DC for pay fairness. 2012 (the most recent year of data) shows median earnings for Michigan men were $49,897 compared to Michigan women’s median earnings of $36,772, meaning women in our state earn only 74 cents to every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The national average is 77%.
It’s 2014 – women have proved to be every bit as capable as men, whether they are scientists, professors, business executives or astronauts. This pay discrimination must end – for the betterment of all Michigan families and our economy. Christine will be a champion for closing this embarrassing gap. Michigan women deserve better. Michigan deserves better.
Check out AAUW’s complete run down of Michigan’s status in the fight for Pay Equity.
Ensuring Good Jobs for All Workers
Growing our economy to provide good paying jobs for all workers strengthens Michigan. Women are in the workforce in equal numbers as men. Many times women are the breadwinners in the family, as we saw in the most recent recession – and the whole family depends on that paycheck. And let’s not leave out single women – as they often are. Single working women don’t have life ropes from their husbands.
Unfortunately, women are less likely to start a small business and are more likely to live in poverty. Michigan must enact policies that make it easier, not harder, for women to succeed in the workplace. We need policies that encourage creating and sustaining small businesses by working with local governments and philanthropic groups to offer entrepreneurial grants and mentoring. We need to offer career and technical training opportunities to move low wage, low skill workers up the economic ladder. We need to improve regional transportation, childcare options and flexible schedules – all innovative approaches to growing our economy by focusing on people first.
Women are the majority of our population. As the President said, "...when WOMEN succeed, AMERICA succeeds."