Heinrich Marks Women's Equality Day

Dear Fellow New Mexican:

Ninety-three years ago today, women achieved the right to vote in the United States. Since then, we have made several advances in improving the lives of women and families, and I am honored to have been a part of making some of the most recent strides.

When I served in the U.S. House of Representatives, my first vote was for the Lily Ledbetter Act in 2009. This important legislation, which is now law, allows victims of pay discrimination to more effectively report and combat pay discrimination in the workplace. I am also proud to have voted for the Affordable Care Act, which provides women free preventive services, including mammograms, breast-feeding support, birth control and well-woman visits.

More recently, as your U.S. Senator, I cosponsored the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which President Obama signed into law earlier this year. Since its inception, VAWA has significantly reduced domestic violence by funding programs that protect women and children from abuse. The bipartisan 2013 reauthorization now extends protections to LGBT and immigrant communities, and helps combat domestic violence in Indian Country.

While we’ve come along way, discrimination on the basis of sex and gender continues. A woman still earns only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And unequal pay disproportionately affects Hispanic women, who make 55 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic, white men. This is unacceptable. As a cosponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act, I am fighting to eliminate these pay inequities. I also support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, to guarantee a living wage for the many women who are the primary or joint breadwinners for their families.

Women nationwide struggle to provide for their loved ones without paid leave and cannot find affordable and accessible childcare. These are just some of the reasons why I am cosponsoring the Senate Joint Resolution that would eliminate the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It is long past time to end discrimination on the basis of sex and to add the ERA to the U.S. Constitution.

I am steadfastly committed to continuing the fight for equality and strengthening the economic security of all working families. Together, we will create a fairer, more just society. 

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator