Standing with the Women of New York City

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Even in 2013 in New York, we have not realized true equality for women. Pay discrimination hurts families and deepens economic inequality, with employers paying women only 85 cents on every dollar earned by men. From fixing pay inequity to better caring for victims of domestic violence, to fighting for paid sick leave that includes all working women, to ensuring our daughters are given every educational opportunity, Bill de Blasio believes in changing the status quo to ensure true equality for every New Yorker.

Fixing pay inequity is part of a bigger agenda needed to ensure true economic and social equality for every woman in New York City. Domestic violence persists. Our schools aren’t sufficiently preparing the next generation of women in key STEM fields. And we continue to fall short.

It’s a status quo New York City cannot afford, and it’s one Bill de Blasio will continue to fight to change.

The De Blasio Record on Women’s Issues

Since his time as head of the General Welfare Committee of the New York City Council, Bill de Blasio has focused on issues that matter to all New Yorkers, but especially women.

  • Fighting for Paid Sick Leave for Every New Yorker. Half of all families in New York City are single-parent households. And for hundreds of thousands of workers, staying home because of an illness or to care for a sick child means the loss of a day’s pay—or even the loss of a job. Bill de Blasio led the fight for comprehensive paid sick leave legislation, helping force a vote on the Council floor after years of obstruction by Speaker Quinn.
  • Ensuring Access to Housing for Victims of Abuse. As a City Council member, Bill de Blasio authored and passed legislation eliminating the arcane practice of forcing domestic violence victims to present documentary proof of abuse to be admitted to an emergency domestic violence shelter. As chair of the General Welfare Committee, Bill de Blasio was also instrumental in passing legislation requiring employers to take reasonable precautions to protect and accommodate victims of domestic violence and stalking.
  • Demanding the Proper Enforcement of Protective Orders. When red tape and inaction left Orders of Protection unenforced, incidents came to light that demonstrated inadequate application of protective orders in cases of domestic violence. Bill de Blasio led a coalition of elected officials demanding reform of the system to ensure that it protects victims more fully.
  • Standing Up for Reproductive Health. When Planned Parenthood came under attack from Republicans in Congress, Bill de Blasio fought to protect the vital organization’s funding and reputation. He joined with allies across the country to condemn the right wing’s smear tactics. As a City Council member, Bill de Blasio co-sponsored land- mark legislation to establish protective zones around reproductive health centers, and prevent harassment of women using their services.
  • Preventing Sexual Assault. After a string of sexual assaults on the streets of Brooklyn left communities shaken, Bill de Blasio reached out to dozens of organizations and elected officials to develop and distribute thousands of comprehensive guides on preventing attacks. Street teams mobilized by the Public Advocate expanded the effort across the city. Bill de Blasio has aggressively lobbied for new legislation in Albany to designate “subway grinding” a felony punishable by jail time.


The De Blasio Plan to Ensure Equality for Women

Being raised for most of his childhood by a single mom has made Bill de Blasio a fervent advocate for women’s equality. As a progressive, he believes that the measure of our society is the fairness with which every person is treated, regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation. He is a strong supporter of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, and he will fight to leverage every power of city government—legislation, purchasing power, the bully pulpit—to stamp out discrimination and promote a more equal city for all women.

More Family-Friendly Workplaces

As mayor, Bill de Blasio will convene city agencies to set higher standards for family-friendly work environments. The task force will focus specifically on the needs of parents with young children, including increasing telecommuting opportunities and expanding designated spaces for breastfeeding at work. Bill de Blasio will also lobby in Albany to pass legislation extending Family Leave Insurance for employees to care for a new child or seriously ill family member.

End Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace

Bill de Blasio will take immediate steps to help ensure equal pay for equal work in New York City. He will settle a longstanding lawsuit by female school security guards, who earn $7,000 less per year than their male colleagues. He will direct all city agencies to rigorously vet all vendors and contractors with whom the city does business to ensure the highest labor standards and hold responsible firms found to violate National Labor Relations Board rules that protect women from discrimination.

Protect the Right to Choose

As mayor, Bill de Blasio will work to ensure that all women in New York City have access to quality reproductive health care. De Blasio will work with providers to ensure adequate protection for clinic access by ensuring close coordination with the NYPD, clinics and clinic access volunteers. In addition, he will continue New York City’s appeal of a judge’s order overturning New York’s local law to regulate sham crisis pregnancy centers, and if the law is ultimately struck down, he will work to craft new regulations to prevent these centers from masquerading as legitimate healthcare providers. Furthermore, Bill de Blasio will work with non-profit providers to identify neighborhoods underserved by reproductive health services and work with them to identify space in city sponsored development. De Blasio will also continue the Bloomberg administration’s groundbreaking abortion training initiative for medical residents at all HHC hospitals. And Bill de Blasio will work to increase access to the state Family Planning Benefits Program as the city works to support implementation of the Affordable Care act.

Equal Educational and Economic Opportunity

Women in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) career fields can earn a third more in salary than their peers, and yet women continue to be underrepresented in these growing, in-demand fields. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will work through our schools to create more electives in STEM programs and integrated after-school programming directed to girls and young women. He will implement a Career and Technical Education recruitment and retention campaign, with meaningful enrollment benchmarks, to ensure gender equity in CTE programs that prepare young people for high-wage and high-skill jobs in traditionally male-dominated occupations.

Support Women and Minority-Owned Businesses

Minority and women-owned businesses constitute only 3 percent of New York City’s government’s spending. New York State manages 10 percent and has a goal of doubling that share. Bill de Blasio believes in the importance of un- locking the entrepreneurial potential of women and minority-owned business, and realizes that because of New York City’s inherent diversity, purchasing from MWBE’s invariably increases the amount of city dollars spent right here in the five boroughs. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will direct Small Business Services to dramatically increase the number of officially registered MWBE firms eligible for city contracts, and will empower a Deputy Mayor with the responsibility of increasing diversity in city contracts and procurement.

End Street Harassment and ‘Subway Grinding’

As mayor, Bill de Blasio will continue to aggressively push to make ‘subway grinding’ a felony punishable by jail time. Bill de Blasio will also further his efforts to prevent sexual assault by launching a wide-scale Public Services Announcement campaign that expands awareness and empowers bystanders to confront harassment when they see it, be it on the streets or in the subways.

Protect Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence

In 2012, there were more than 260,000 incidents of domestic violence in New York City. For undocumented immigrants, being a victim of domestic violence carries extra risk, because it can bring them into contact with immigration authorities. City agencies have the legal capacity to help immigrant domestic violence victims receive the certification they need to secure a special U-visa under the Violence Against Women Act. However, there are serious problems with inefficiency and coordination among city agencies and officials. Bill de Blasio will pass legislation that requires each agency with the power to offer U-visa certification to create a U-Visa coordinator. This will cut through red tape and better support immigrant domestic violence victims.

Ease Access to Housing for Women and Their Families

Whether it is victims of domestic violence, or single mothers seeking access to affordable housing, Bill de Blasio is committed to providing the women of New York with safe places to call home. This is why Bill de Blasio has fought for funding of women and family-only shelters, and for a “housing first” approach that seeks to move women and their children from the shelter system into affordable housing as quickly as possible.

Diversify our Police and Fire Departments

The fact that our police and fire departments still don’t truly reflect the demographics of our city is unacceptable. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will commit to a process that would allow these institutions to reflect the true breadth of New York’s finest and bravest citizens.

End Human Trafficking in New York City

As mayor, Bill de Blasio will seek to end the prevalence of human trafficking coming through our city. By coordinating with federal, state, regional, and local law enforcement officials — as well as raising awareness throughout all of New York’s diverse communities about the realities of human trafficking — de Blasio will curb the outrageous presence of contemporary slavery in our city.


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