SWE is committed to transforming the STEM workforce in order to maximize contributions from women. We are tracking the following list of bills that will enable family-friendly policies, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, create safe work environments and provide women in STEM with resources to start their own businesses.
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 2013 (S.1810, H.R. 3712): Provides paid family and medical leave benefits to certain individuals.
- Paycheck Fairness Act (S.2199, H.R. 377): Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.
- Women’s Small Business Ownership Act (S.2693, H.R.5584): Reauthorizes the women’s business center program of the Small Business Administration. (This will provide women with the opportunity to obtain business loans and government contracts).
- Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 (S.1752): Reforms procedures that determine which cases go to trial by court-martial for certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Currently, women cannot take sexual assault cases to trial without chain-of-command approval.
- Campus Accountability and Safety Act (H.R.5354): Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to combat campus sexual violence.
- Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) (S.J. Res. 10): Proposes an amendment to the constitutions that prohibits denying or abridging equality of rights under the law by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
The ERA, an umbrella of equality under the law, could prove to be the most effective of all the bills listed. It would provide supporters of women’s rights to use the full force of the constitution when addressing the wide array of issues that currently impact women. Women in the 1970s worked tirelessly but couldn’t get a constitutional amendment ratified. Since then, the ERA has been reintroduced multiple times. Currently, the only right specifically outlined for women in the constitution is the right to vote. According to Justice Scalia, the constitution does not prohibit sex discrimination. Until it does, we will continue to have long, bulleted lists of much needed legislation designed to eliminate gender disparities one item at a time.