New York Women’s Equality Coalition Calls for 2014 Passage of the Women’s Equality Ac


May 15, 2014
Contact: Lauren Alexander,, 212-607-3372

New York Women’s Equality Coalition Calls for
2014 Passage of the Women’s Equality Act

Mobilizes Statewide Call to Action for Women’s Health Week

NEW YORK—The New York Women’s Equality Coalition is holding a Statewide Day of Action coordinated with National Women’s Health Week to demonstrate the continued wide-spread support for the Women’s Equality Act (WEA) and is calling on legislators to pass the bill before the end of the 2014 Legislative Session. WEA provides common sense updates to New York law that will ensure New York’s 10 million mothers, sisters, daughters and wives are not held back by discrimination. The groundbreaking legislation removes barriers to economic security and ensures access to reproductive health care and freedom from violence.

The Women’s Equality Coalition, comprised of over 850 businesses and organizations, has mounted a dynamic statewide campaign to build public support and awareness of the state laws that fail New York women. Utilizing a diverse array of tactics including an on-line petition, a social media campaign, a postcard mail-in, as well as regional on-the-ground events in communities and on college campuses, the coalition has raised the profile of these issues and mounted pressure on key legislators that have refused to bring WEA to the floor for a vote.

“In 2014, with all of the attacks on women’s health care across the country, it shouldn’t be this difficult to recognize, regardless of whether you personally oppose or support to access to abortion health care, that New York State law has failed to be advanced to meet the requirements set out by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, now 41 years later…it is time,” said M. Tracey Brooks, CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York State.

Across the state advocates have mobilized to send a strong message to legislators about the need for WEA. Throughout the week at rallies and education events postcard signatures were collected and today they will be dropped off at Senators’ district offices.

“The Women’s Equality Act will strengthen gender equality and reproductive rights, and support autonomy, privacy and dignity for all New York women and their families,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director, Donna Lieberman. “The Senate needs to stop allowing a fringe few to hold hostage legislation that the vast majority of New Yorkers want, and stand up for our state’s 10 million mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.”

“With over 16,000 members and supporters and 34 branches statewide, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of NYS represents every corner of the Empire state,” said Donna Seymour, State Public Policy VP, AAUW of NYS. “We will continue to fight for common-sense measures like the Women’s Equality Act, which would align federal and state laws and would greatly improve the lives and economic security of women and families in New York.”

“It is estimated that the health consequences that result from domestic violence cost more than $8.3 billion in the United States alone,” said Connie Neal, Executive Director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “This is not just limited to the physical injuries caused directly by an abuser’s violence. For example, we know that women who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to suffer a stroke and have heart disease. Therefore, the passage of the Women’s Equality Act is not only socially responsible but also fiscally responsible. We urge the Senate to take action now.”

“As one of New York City’s leading health care providers for thousands of women, men and teens, Planned Parenthood knows that women’s health, rights and economic well being are inherently linked,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City.“Here in New York, we have an historic opportunity to provide national leadership by passing the Women’s Equality Agenda which will secure women’s rights and affirm reproductive health care as basic and essential care. Right now New York’s outdated laws mean that women in our state could potentially lose many of their current reproductive rights and freedoms.

It’s time for an upgrade – the Women’s Equality Act will update and strengthen New York’s laws to ensure they reflect the reality of women’s lives today. WEA will improve access to housing and orders of protection for victims of domestic violence and implement measures to combat sex trafficking, tackle sexual harassment and discrimination— all of which pose major threats to a survivor’s mental health and overall well-being—make sure that pregnant women are able to stay healthy on-the-job, and secure women’s access to reproductive healthcare. Women’s health is a vital part of the Women’s Equality Act and supporters will not settle for anything less than a vote on all of the components of this straightforward legislation, including:

  • Ending workplace discrimination based on motherhood or pregnancy and tackling housing discrimination.
  • Extending sexual harassment protections to women who work in businesses that employ fewer than four people.
  • Making New York’s laws consistent with Roe v. Wade to protect a woman’s health in the rare and tragic case where a serious complication jeopardizes her health late in pregnancy.
  • Outlawing wage secrecy policies by employers designed to keep women — under fear of termination — from uncovering evidence of wage discrimination.

The Women’s Equality Coalition is committed to enacting the Women’s Equality Act to ensure New York’s 10 million women have the legal protection and support they deserve.

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The NYWEC Steering Committee is comprised of the following organizations:
A Better Balance; AAUW-NYS; Family Planning Advocates of NYS; League of Women Voters NYS; National Organization for Women – NYC; New York Civil Liberties Union, NYS AFL-CIO; NYS Anti-Trafficking Coalition; NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Equal Pay Coalition NYC; Planned Parenthood Advocates of NY; Sanctuary for Families; YWCAs of New York State