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Breaking Glass

The candidates' stance on women's issues in focus for the 2016 election

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For the first time in U.S. history, two women — Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard — are running for president on opposite political parties.

It’s about time our country elected a woman to the Oval Office, but shouldn’t we also be voting for someone who supports women’s issues?

According to the Center for American Progress, more than half of the voters in the 2012 election were women. So, it goes to say if women are the majority vote, we need to look past gender and elect an official that will best address the issues pertinent to our lives.

Here’s a helpful breakdown of some of the women’s issues in focus for the 2016 election and the candidates’ stances on them.

Reproductive health care

The majority of Republican candidates:

  • Support banning abortion, with and without restrictions.
  • Would defund Planned Parenthood.
  • Would institute policies that would restrict access to affordable birth control.

The majority of Democratic candidates:

  • Support access to safe and legal abortion.
  • Would support Planned Parenthood.
  • Would institute policies that would support access to affordable birth control.


  • Martin O’Malley (D) sides with the Republicans on all three issues.
  • John Kasich (R) sides with the Democrats on all three issues.
  • Jim Gilmore (R), while morally opposed, supports access to safe and legal abortion.

Equal pay

The majority of Republican candidates would vote (or have voted) against gender-equalizing legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act.

This, surprisingly, includes Carly Fiorina (R), a former woman CEO; and does not include Donald Trump (R).

All of the Democratic candidates support gender-equalizing legislation.

Some candidates don’t agree or are simply uninformed that the pay gap is even an issue. This includes Republicans Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.

Increased hiring of women and minorities

All of the Democratic candidates are in support of legally requiring companies to hire women and minorities via methods of recruitment, quotas and/or affirmative action agreements.

The Republicans are split:

  • Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, John Kasich and Jim Gilmore side with the Democrats.
  • Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee outright oppose government-mandated legislation regarding the increased hiring of women and minorities.
  • Ted Cruz, George Pataki and Scott Walker have no comment and/or do not believe this is an issue.

Carly Fiorina (R) argued that women already have adequate laws at their disposal if they are truly discriminated against at work; however, she has also been quoted as saying “women professionals are not treated the same as men.” It may perhaps be worth mentioning here that Fiorina is also against putting a woman on the $10 bill to honor women’s contributions to American history.

Bernie Sanders (D), on the other hand, has spent the majority of his political career advocating for the equality of women and minorities in both society and in the workplace.

And then there are … these guys:

  • Jeb Bush (R) stated that gay rights and feminism are “modern victim movements” that attempt to get people to view themselves as part of a smaller group deserving of something from society.
  • When reminded by a reporter that he’s called women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals” in the past, Donald Trump (R) said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I don’t have time for total political correctness.”
  • Rand Paul (R) said, “This whole sort of war on women thing, I'm scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won. … I don’t see so much that women are downtrodden … In fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women really are out-competing the men in our world."

Family leave and childcare

Hillary Clinton (D) has made family leave and women in the workforce a pillar of her campaign. Though she has begun to trail behind Bernie Sanders (D) in the polls. This has and will continue to bring her much success.

Carly Fiorina (R), however, said, “I opposed the federal government mandating paid maternity leave to every company out there.”

She, along with Republicans Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich, would or have already opposed federal legislation mandating any paid leave.

The United States and Papua New Guinea  are the only two nations that do not guarantee paid family leave.

That’s something all of the Democratic candidates would like to change by legally requiring at least 12 weeks of paid family leave in instances of pregnancy or family care.

As for the rest of the Republican candidates? This isn’t an issue worthy of discussion … yet.

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