Hillary Clinton: A Fighter for Women and Girls

America has taken tremendous strides in expanding opportunity for women and securing fundamental rights. But Hillary Clinton believes that our fight is far from over. Women still earn less than men on the job, many confront barriers to entering and advancing in the workforce, and politicians continue to interfere with a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions Clinton believes that these challenges are not just “women’s issues”—they are family issues, they are economic issues, and they are crucial to our future competitiveness. She knows that America is strong when a woman can be anything she wants to be: a CEO, a breadwinner for her family, a software engineer, a proud mother, or even President of the United States. And in the America we are fighting for, there won’t be anything standing in a woman’s way.

Clinton has been fighting for women and girls her entire career—and she’s not going to stop now. In fact, she’s just getting started. As President, she will:

Work to close the pay gap. Across our economy, too many women still earn less than men on the job—and women of color often lose out the most. For families, all this lost money adds up to thousands of dollars every year. That is why Clinton will fight to close the wage gap by promoting pay transparency across the economy and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill she introduced as Senator – to give women the legal tools they need to fight workplace discrimination.

Fight for paid family leave. No one should have to choose between keeping their job and taking care of a sick family member and no woman should have to go back to work 24 hours after giving birth. Yet, a quarter of all women in the America return to work less than two weeks after having a child, leaving them less time to bond with their newborns and increasing their risk of postpartum depression. The United States is the only country in the developed world without guaranteed paid leave. Clinton believes this has to change.

Make quality, affordable childcare a reality for families. Clinton believes it’s time to recognize that quality, affordable childcare is not a luxury—it’s a growth strategy. Women are now the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. Yet, out-of-pocket childcare costs have soared by nearly 25 percent during the past decade. America’s families need relief. That is why Clinton will make investing in childcare a national priority. Already, as part of her New College Compact, she has proposed increasing funding for on-campus childcare and awarding scholarships to meet the needs of the nearly 5 million college students in America –one-quarter of all college students – who are also parents.

Increase the minimum wage. The current minimum wage is no longer sufficient for Americans to meet their basic needs. And because women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers, many women are living that reality every day. Clinton believes it is time to raise the federal minimum wage. A higher minimum wage will help close the gender pay gap, lift millions of women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect across our economy. As we work to raise the federal minimum wage, Clinton will also support state and local efforts to go above the federal floor.

Defend and enhance Social Security. Clinton rejects years of Republican myth-making that Social Security is on its deathbed and that the solution is across-the-board cuts. Social Security is not in crisis; Social Security is an American success story. As President, Clinton will defend Social Security from Republican attacks and enhance it to meet new realities, particularly for women. The poverty rate among widowed and divorced women who are 65 years or older is nearly 70 percent higher than for the elderly population as a whole. This unacceptably high poverty rate is partly the result of an unfair policy: two-breadwinner families can face steep reductions in their benefits when a spouse dies. Clinton will work to change that.

Protect women’s health and reproductive rights. Clinton believes that no politician should interfere with a woman’s personal medical decisions. Those decisions should be left to a woman, her family and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor. Clinton will stand up against Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict women’s access to critical health care services, like cancer screenings and contraception. And she will fight to protect the Affordable Care Act, which bans insurance companies from discriminating against women and guarantees 47 million women access to preventive care.

Confront violence against women. Nationwide, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college, 22 percent of women experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, and American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. As a mother, a grandmother, and a champion for women and girls worldwide, Clinton knows it is past time to address violence against women and will offer bold plans to do so.

Promote women’s rights around the globe. As Secretary of State, Clinton made promoting women’s rights a central part of the State Department’s work because she knows that in communities where women thrive, societies thrive. In far too many parts of the world, women are still held back by social, economic, and legal barriers. In 2014, one in every four girls was married before the age of 18, and laws in 79 countries still restrict the type of work women can do. Clinton knows these laws hold societies back and that promoting gender equality around the world – from ensuring that girls have equal access to education, to making women safe from sexual violence, to promoting equal economic opportunity – will promote a more just, secure, and prosperous global community.

From her work at the Children’s Defense Fund, to starting the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, to elevating women’s rights as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Clinton has a proven record of fighting for women and girls:

Right out of law school, Clinton chose not to attend a big law firm and instead became a voice for families and children:

  • She took a job with the Children’s Defense Fund after graduating from law school, helping children with disabilities and building a case for a law guaranteeing them access to education.
  • She helped start the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families as First Lady of Arkansas.

As First Lady, Clinton was a staunch advocate for women and children’s issues:

  • She led the U.S. delegation to the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she proclaimed that “women’s rights are human rights.”
  • She also advocated for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which offered leave for new parents or those with a sick loved one, and worked to increase funding for childcare.

As Senator from New York, Clinton consistently fought to advance women’s rights:

  • She championed access to emergency contraception and voted in favor of strengthening a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
  • She also championed the Paycheck Fairness Act and cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in an effort to achieve equal pay and help close the wage gap. Additionally, Clinton advocated for paid family leave by fighting for legislation to guarantee paid sick leave, as well as paid parental leave to all federal employees.

As Secretary of State, Clinton made women’s rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy:

  • She created the first ever Ambassador-at-Large for global women’s issues, which has become a permanent position. Clinton also helped launch the first U.S. strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.
  • She advanced women’s economic empowerment, championed programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and spearheaded public-private partnerships to improve the status of women and girls.