Opinion

It’s Time for Leaders Who Will Work for American Women. It’s Time for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

By Susan Molinari
October 22, 2020 at 5:00 am ET

There’s a crisis we need to talk about. Last month alone, 865,000 women left the workforce — four times the number of men. That number should be a startling wake-up call for this country. Women are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, and we need leaders who will recognize this reality and respond.

Yet, this administration has no plan to get COVID-19 under control, no plan to safely get our workplaces and schools open, no plan to provide relief to women across the country that are stretched thin and feeling the pressure of juggling their work, childcare and other family responsibilities. 

Moreover, President Donald Trump’s policies show little to no regard for women. He has barely lifted a finger to address the economic challenges we face — from the gender wage gap and more affordable education and job training opportunities to paid family and medical leave and the caregiving crisis. His administration is attempting to rip away health care benefits and protections for millions of women — by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And he has allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire, rolled back protections from discrimination and harassment in the workplace and made college campuses less safe for women by shaming and silencing survivors of sexual assault.  

I am a third-generation Republican office holder and former business executive. I was vice chair of the Republican Conference in Congress and started my political career as Republican leader in the New York City Council. (OK, I was the only Republican in the council). I know that our country will be better, fairer, safer and healthier under Joe Biden’s leadership — and that women will get the respect we deserve as contributors to our families, our communities and our economy. 

I know this — because I know Joe Biden. 

When I served in Congress I participated in a bicameral, bipartisan press conference regarding unprocessed rape kits. After the senators, representatives and survivors spoke and the media left, most of the officials left to go on to other business.  However, I saw that Sen. Biden stayed to talk to the women. They wanted to tell their stories and he wanted them to be heard.  

This was not a one-off for Joe Biden. I happened upon him in Croatia during a time of horrific ethnic cleansing occurring in the region that was not being reported on TV and in the print media. I was so troubled that the world didn’t care, then I spotted Joe Biden, once again listening and learning.  

The list goes on. He did so much good when no one was looking. Of course, he wrote and pushed for the adoption of the Violence Against Women Act at a time when domestic violence was considered a “family issue,” not a crime. This bill and Biden’s leadership on it changed how society viewed domestic violence. It is hard to imagine that Trump, who recently asked women at one of his rallies if their husbands were okay with them being there, could ever be such a champion on our behalf.

I have witnessed Joe Biden debate and negotiate. He is a tough and strategic adversary. I cannot accept that we are still having the argument that one cannot be thoughtful and decisive, a comforter and a warrior. I don’t know of too many people, in or out of the political arena who have dealt with so much tragedy and could still get up off the mat like Joe Biden.

Under the leadership of Joe and Kamala, America is going to defeat the virus and build back better — for women, for working families, for communities of color and for people everywhere. Our schools will reopen — safely — by following the science that will protect teachers, children and their families. Women are going to be able to get back to work in safe workplaces. Our care economy will get back on its feet — while we build back better to ensure families can access affordable, high-quality care and improve the jobs and pay for the child care and elder care workers that make our success possible. 

Joe and Kamala are committed to fighting for the issues that matter most to women: protecting our health care by building on the Affordable Care Act to expand access and lower costs, improving our economic security by championing equal pay and ensuring all women can meet the demands of work and family with initiatives like universal preschool and up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

After four years of an ineffective and disrespectful administration like Trump’s, it’s time for leaders who will work for American women. It’s time for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Go to iwillvote.com to make a plan to vote today.

 

Susan Molinari is a former Republican congresswoman representing New York and former vice president of public policy for the Americas at Google.

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