The New York City Council Women's Caucus, a 14-member body led by Co-Chairs and Council Members Laurie A. Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal, gathered Tuesday on the steps of City Hall to announce the Women's Caucus' Equality Legislative package of bills and resolutions to support policy that advances gender equality.
The legislative package, which centers on the experience of women, is the first to be introduced by the Women's Caucus, to advance the interests of all New Yorkers. After a campaign that featured hateful and divisive rhetoric from the President-Elect, this package represents a vision for an inclusive and progressive approach by local government to protect and advance the cause of gender equality here in New York City.
Planning for the package began in June of 2016, as members of the Women's Caucus considered how, as a body, they could best work together to change policies in a comprehensive way. The components of the package address a broad range of issues and are in different stages in the legislative process, but all share a commitment toward a more equal New York. Members of the Women's Caucus consider this neither the start nor the finish of the work, but another opportunity to work with allies like their male colleagues in the City Council, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Mayor Bill de Blasio to support hard working people of all stripes.
The various pieces of legislation will work to provide for greater transparency of City programs through annual reports; facilitate the creation of new services and resources; recognizes the contributions of women; increases access to higher education and hygiene products; protects survivors of domestic violence; curbs sexual violence against all; and ends gender-based pay discrimination.
Equality Legislative Package includes:
* denotes legislation to be introduced.
** denotes legislation to be introduced at 11/29 Stated meeting.
"The City of New York has always taken a progressive stance on human rights to protect women and immigrants," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. "From IDNYC to raising the minimum wage, we have increased access to City services and equal opportunity to the American Dream. As a national model, we must maintain our upward momentum to end gender and racial inequality through public policy that celebrates our diversity. Through the New York City Council Women's Caucus legislative package, the first of many, we are building upon the foundation that was laid under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to create new pathways for all New Yorkers to thrive."
"Even when a victim of domestic violence has made the difficult decision to leave an abusive relationship, logistical questions about concerns like breaking an apartment lease all too often act as barriers to leaving an abusive environment," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. "It is our responsibility, as lawmakers and as everyday bystanders, to work whenever possible to remove those barriers. This resolution calls on the State to simplify the process by which a victim of domestic violence can break their lease. I'm proud to introduce this resolution and proud to include it as part of the Women's Caucus Equality Package. Now more than ever, we must work together on all fronts to advance the cause of equality and to protect and advance the interests of our most vulnerable neighbors."
"As we approach the centennial of women securing the right to vote in New York state, my Women's Caucus colleagues and I are proposing a legislative package that seeks to more fully implement the American promise of equality," said Council Member Deborah Rose. "Our many goals include achieving pay equity, combating domestic violence and sexual assault, and ensuring rights for all workers. I hope all of my colleagues join us as we work to ensure that future generations of women have every opportunity to succeed in this city."
"A lot of measures were embraced in The Women's Caucus Equality Package to expand women's rights in this city," said Council Member Inez Dickens. "As members of the Women's Caucus, we are determined to not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, and that continues to deny us equal protection of our freedoms, rights, access, safety, choice and expression."
"Women's health is vital to family health. The Women's Caucus has been successful in enhancing access and services, but there is still more we must do," said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. "My bill, Introduction 1162, would require DOHMH to report data on the HPV immunization rates of New Yorkers. I'm proud that this legislation and the entire Women's Caucus Equality Package will continue to increase resources for women across the city, so they can care for themselves and for others."
"I am proud to be standing with the Women's Caucus to push forward a legislative package with a special focus on women or women's equity," said Council Member Rosie Mendez. "The legislative package seeks to make improvements to our education, health, safety and formally and accurately documenting our history. My proposed bill to be introduced with Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer looks to co-name a portion of East 35th street in my district as Ms. Magazine Way. This would memorialize and pay tribute to the first magazine written by and for women, as well as the street where the magazine was first produced. Ms. Magazine is a feminist periodical that took unprecedented stands on issues like abortion and domestic violence. I look forward to making Ms. Magazine Way a reality in NYC."
Members of the Women's Caucus were joined by advocacy groups and other allies, including MFY Legal Services, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Hollaback!, Planned Parenthood of New York City, Inc., the National Organization for Women - NYC, The Legal Aid Society, Violence Intervention Program, Inc., the National Domestic Workers Alliance, CONNECT, Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice, the Domestic Violence Project of the Urban Justice Center, Street Corner Resources, the Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, GIRL BE HEARD, The Campaign for a Pro-Choice New York, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence, the Crime Victims Treatment Center, PowHER, VIP Mujeres, Her Justice, the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, and Live on New York.