The Gender Equality Debate
The debate on gender equality focuses on the effectiveness of current laws to prevent gender discrimination and the need for additional protections. Should the US ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? Should insurance companies be allowed to charge differently based on gender? Should health plans have to cover contraception without a patient co-pay? Should women be allowed to serve in combat roles in the military? Are more laws needed to achieve equal pay and protect women against violence?
Official Democratic position
“We Democrats will continue to support efforts to ensure that workers can combat gender discrimination in the workplace.” The Party supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and broadening the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Party supports ratifying the UN Convention on Women’s Rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. The Party opposes charging women more for healthcare and believes women should have “…free access to preventative care, including…contraception.”
Official Republican position
“We support military women’s exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions”
The Republican Party opposes the UN Convention on Women’s Rights because its “…long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear.”
The 2012 Republican Party Platform does not include other language on issues related to gender equality.
Various federal offices are engaged in preventing gender discrimination. The US Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing laws that are aimed at preventing gender discrimination in the work place. The Office of Violence Against Women works within the Department of Justice.
Constitutional Amendments, such as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, must receive a supermajority in the House and the Senate and must be ratified by ¾ of the states. International Treaties, such as the UN Convention on Women’s Rights, must be voted on in the Senate and signed by the President.
Education Amendments of 1972 Title IX: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”
Violence Against Women Act 1994 - Imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on people convicted of crimes against women, allows for civil suits for unprosecuted cases
Contraceptive Mandate in the Affordable Care Act 2010 (ACA or Obamacare) - Requires health insurers to cover contraceptive costs without a patient co-pay. Exemptions granted to religious organizations and “closely-held” corporations.
In 2013, the Combat Exclusion Policy of 1948 was lifted by the joint Chiefs of Staff - Allows both men and women to serve in front line combat and complete combat operations. The implementation is to be complete by 2016.
Most Vocal on Gender Equality
These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.
The Spectrum on Gender Equality
These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.