Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a 26-page agenda focused entirely on women’s rights Thursday, one of the most detailed plans focused on women so far in the Democratic primary.
The Indiana mayor’s agenda promises to close the gender pay and wealth gaps by guaranteeing equal pay for equal work while also addressing the ways in which women are excluded from opportunity. His plan is to invest $10 billion to end workplace sexual harassment and discrimination against women and to double the funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to hold employers accountable for any discrimination.
He also says he will make gender pay disparities and incidents of sexual harassment reports, investigations and settlements at large corporations public information. And he plans to ban the use of nondisclosure agreements, which are often used to silence survivors of workplace sexual harassment — who are most often women.
“Transparency puts power in the hands of women as they make decisions about where to work and salary negotiations. It also puts pressure on companies to hire, promote, retain, and pay women equally,” the agenda says.
Further, he promises to ensure every family has access to affordable childcare and 12 weeks of paid family leave, so women can balance motherhood and their career. He also guarantees $50 billion to grow woman-owned businesses, which receive less than 3% of venture capital funding.
When it comes to abortion rights, Buttigieg’s plan mirrors that of most other Democratic candidates. He plans to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for most abortions; write abortion access into law if Roe v. Wade is overturned; and repeal the gag rules to allow recipients of federal family planning funding to perform and refer for abortions. Notably, Buttigieg’s plan also involves expanding access by letting doctors prescribe abortion medication remotely to those who don’t have a clinic nearby.
The candidate’s plan also addresses maternal health. Women are dying from childbirth at a higher rate than they did a generation ago, and women of color, especially black women, have the highest maternal mortality rates. Buttigieg’s plan to address this is to support legislation requiring hospitals and clinic staff to take anti-bias and anti-racism training. He also said he would increase funding for the Maternal Mortality Review Commissions and expand postpartum mental health services.
Buttigieg also wants to require health insurance companies to cover the costs of gender affirming medical treatments for transgender women.
Finally, Buttigieg’s plan promises to address the leadership gap “so that women can secure equal power and influence.” In his plan, he commits to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment if he makes it to the White House, formalizing gender equality. Buttigieg also promises to reflect his commitment to women throughout his Cabinet and judicial nominations.
“I’m committed to nominating a gender- and racially-diverse Cabinet and making judicial nominations that are at least 50 percent women, and challenging executives across the country to step up as well,” Buttigieg said in an Essence op-ed.
Buttigieg’s agenda focused on women comes as he prepares to meet this weekend with New Hampshire voters at a town hall focused on women’s economic empowerment and a roundtable focused on family issues.
Attention for the Indiana mayor has surged following a strong performance in the last debate, when he criticized proposals from progressive candidates while seeking to cast himself as a moderate alternative.
Sources: The Hill 10/24/19; USA Today 10/24/19; Vox 10/24/19; Essence 10/24/19; Fortune 1/28/19