This new bill provides that job protection for up to 12 weeks.
How much do you think the pandemic played a part in getting this bill over the finish line?
This has been an issue that many of us have been fighting for, for decades. But the Covid situation was really able to shine a dramatic spotlight on just how significant this is. Think about it: Grandparents now aren’t available to take care of grandkids while mom and dad are working and child care facilities have been closed. Covid really made it clear that our infrastructure is totally inadequate.
Women are such a consistent thread running through all of the legislation that you’ve proposed. What are some of your guiding philosophies?
For me, it goes back to my basic fundamental belief in what this country promises people and what has lured generations of people from all over the world to come to this country, and that is, that if you work hard, you play by the rules, and you do your best, there’s nothing that’s impossible.
And yet, the reality is that if you are a woman, those opportunities don’t necessarily exist. When I was just a little girl, I was a better baseball player than anyone on the team, but I wasn’t allowed to play Little League because I was a girl. So these arbitrary barriers, these gender-based barriers, to me, are just totally anathema to what this country’s promise and responsibility is.
When I look at legislation, I ask myself, are we giving everybody an opportunity or the chance to be successful or to get into schools where they are able to pursue their area of interest? Or are they limited by virtue of their gender? Legislation that I’ve done has tried to reduce the likelihood of gender discrimination, to deter it and ultimately to eradicate it.
And we also have to look at the fact that a lot of the basis upon which we decide what is valuable work has a gender lens to it. I used to hear very frequently that women can’t be cops because you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be able to risk your life and your safety and get out there and physically go mano a mano. Well, when you think about it, a lot of good police work is in avoiding those kinds of confrontation, and we know that when you send a female police officer out to deal with potentially highly violent activities they have a way of diffusing the tension. That’s valuable work, too.
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