New York, NY: On January 11, 2018, the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo officially announced the Women’s Opportunity and Rights Agenda for 2018. The Manhattan Young Democrats’ Gender Equity Taskforce commends the Governor’s office, and notably the New York State Council on Women and Girls, for its commitment to advance and protect the rights of women and girls throughout New York State.
The 2018 Agenda recognizes the persistent inequality that women and girls face in many aspects of their lives, ranging from difficulties faced in accessing quality healthcare and affordable child care, to domestic violence, sexual harassment and unequal compensation and lack of protection in the workplace. We believe the vision set out in the 2018 Agenda will serve as a roadmap for reform, and will help New York become an example of opportunity and equality for women and girls amidst the hostile climate established by our current administration.
This agenda takes a particularly strong stance on protecting sexual and reproductive health, combating gender-based violence and harassment, and providing education and support for young people to address gender inequities early on.
In particular, we would like to highlight the 2018 Agenda’s calls to:
- Codify Roe v. Wade into the New York State Constitution and pass the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, both of which represent essential steps to ensuring women across the state have equal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. The 2018 Agenda also places a much-needed focus on addressing maternal mortality, which continues to be a grave public health issue disproportionately affecting women of color.
- Build better social environments where women feel safe, namely by passing the Equal Rights Amendment, preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms, and criminalizing sextortion and the distribution of revenge porn. We are especially concerned with the systemic vulnerabilities women face in the cyber world and welcome Governor Cuomo’s proposal for new legislation that will protect victims of these forms of cyber harassment.
- Create educational environments that are safe and empowering for young girls, by extending human rights law protections to all public school students statewide, developing strong standards for computer science curriculums and enhancing mentorship programs that both expose girls to “non-traditional” fields and reach youth from traditionally marginalized groups. Additionally, the agenda proposes a new learning module that would give young students the tools to engage in healthy relationships and prevent sexually coercive behavior, a necessary step to empowering future generations to end gender-based violence.
While 2017 was a difficult year that presented many challenges to gender equality, it was also a year that witnessed a tremendous uprising of people across the world who spoke out against harassment and injustice. We look forward to sustaining this movement in 2018, and we hope you will join us for the fight.
The full Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls Outlook 2018 can be found here.
Join the Gender Equity Task Force’s January Meeting:
Jan 17, 2018 | 7pm
108 W 39th Street, Suite 1201, New York, NY 10018. RSVP here today!
Join us for the 1 year anniversary of the Women’s March:
Jan 20, 2018, 11am
Meet at Santa Fe bar, 73 W 71st St, New York, NY 10023