Legislation in the Pipeline – Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center (www.votervoice.net/Zonta/Bills)
US Senate Bill S. Res. 589 – Support Ukrainian Women on the Frontlines
On Feb. 24, 2022, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin instigated an unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful war violating the territorial integrity of the sovereign country of Ukraine. Women have played a key role in defending Ukraine, keeping their families and innocent children safe, and responding to the invasion by the Russian Federation. In the first six weeks of fighting in Ukraine, more than 4.3 million Ukrainians, of which the majority are women and children, fled the country in response to Putin’s war.
Women who remain in Ukraine contribute to all aspects of warfighting, including by fighting on the frontlines and as part of the territorial defense, delivering supplies and weapons, and preparing cities for assaults by the Russian Federation. The women of Ukraine have a long history of defending Ukraine and standing up for their rights and freedom, and currently makeup 17% of the country’s armed forces. Despite significant contributions to the war effort, outdated legislation in Ukraine classifies women as cooks, tailors, and administrative assistants, even while women are fighting and dying on the frontlines beside their male counterparts.
Res. 589, “A resolution recognizing, honoring, and commending the women of Ukraine who have contributed to the fight for freedom and the defense of Ukraine,” acknowledges that women are often the targets of deliberate violence during conflicts, which is evident through Russia’s deliberate attacks on maternity wards and use of rape as a weapon of war. The bipartisan resolution calls on all countries to provide aid to refugees and support women in Ukraine who are keeping families and children safe, delivering supplies and weapons, administering medical care, fighting as part of the armed forces, and more.
Res. 589 was introduced on April 7 by a bipartisan group of women senators, led by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). All 24 female senators sponsor or co-sponsor the resolution. Please urge your senators to co-sponsor and support S. Res. 589. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.
- The Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act (S. 423 and H.R. 957) addresses climate change-related risks to pregnant and postpartum people and their infants.
- The Women and Climate Change Act of 2021 (H.R. 260) aims to diminish the impact of climate change on women and girls around the world.
Please urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor and support these two acts. (3-2022)
US Congress Bill H.R.6268 – Protect Black Women and Girls Act
This bipartisan Act would establish an Interagency Task Force to examine the conditions and experiences of Black women and girls in education, economic development, healthcare, labor and employment, housing, justice, and civil rights, to promote community-based methods for mitigating and addressing harm and ensuring accountability and to study societal effects on Black women and girls. Please urge your representative to co-sponsor and support H.R. 6268. (2-2022)
US Senate Bill S.1486 – Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
A bill to eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. (8-2021).
US Congress Bill H.R.3875 & US Senate Bill S.2042 – Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2021 (ICWBE)
These bills would reauthorize the ICWBE to help coordinate federal resources to encourage the formation, growth and success of women-owned businesses. It would amend Title IV of the Women’s Business Ownership Act to reauthorize the interagency committee by making sure a chairperson is appointed to operate the committee, and it would update the agencies and departments that would coordinate to make sure all resources are being used effectively. Support female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses by urging your senators and representative to co-sponsor and support the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2021. (6-2021)
US Congress Bill H.R.121 & US Senate Bill S.R.87 – The Marshall Plan for Moms
Women have lost more than 5.4 million net jobs and account for 55% of overall net job loss since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. This plan puts forward a framework of numerous provisions that aim to help moms return to the workforce so that they can resume and advance their careers and stop losing out on wages that are critical to their family’s economic security. The Marshall Plan for Moms is a bold 360-plan to get women back to work that includes:
- Direct payments to moms, who have had their paid labor in the workforce replaced by unseen, unpaid labor at home.
- Passing long-overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare and pay equity.
- Retraining programs to ensure women can fill the jobs that will exist.
- Rebuilding and stabilizing the child care industry, with a vision toward universal child care and early learning.
- Plans to safely reopen schools 5 days a week.
Please urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Marshall Plan for Moms. (4-2021)
US Congress Bill H.R 1620 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA)
The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 8, 2021 and was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 17th with a bipartisan vote of 244-172. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) applauds the bill’s lead sponsors, Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and all those who voted for VAWA’s passage. The bill takes a holistic approach, addressing the complex realities of survivors’ lives. It maintains established protections, while also addressing persistent gaps and improving the current VAWA provisions. This has been referred to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. (3-2021)
US Congress Bill H.R. 571 – Safe from the Start Act
This bill would keep women and girls safe from violence, early marriage, and other injustices in emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the act is to reduce the incidence of gender-based violence (GBV), ensure quality support for survivors from the very beginning of emergencies through timely and effective humanitarian action, and promote standards for prevention, mitigation, and response to such crises. (1-2021)
To amend 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, and for other purposes. Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in January 2021. In March, it was sent to Committee and a Mark-up Session was held. (3-2021)
US Senate Bill S. 1071 – Keeping Girls in School Act
The economic benefits of girls’ education are substantial and can help lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty. Keeping girls in secondary school could:
- Add $92 billion to the economies of low and middle-income nations;
- Cut child deaths by 50 percent;
- Reduce child marriage by 66 percent;
- Decrease violent conflict by 37 percent; and
- Increase girls’ future wages by up to 20 percent for every year enrolled.
The Keeping Girls in School Act passed the House in January 2020. Contact your Senator today and ask them to support S.1071.
US Senate Bill S.J. Res. 1 – Eliminates Deadline for the Ratification of ERA
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by Congress in 1972; however, it has never been fully ratified. This joint resolution eliminates the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and will make it clear that sex discrimination in employment, education, or any other space is a violation of women’s constitutional rights as Americans. It will also provide a clearer and stricter judicial standard for deciding cases of sex discrimination.
On January 22, 2021 Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), joined by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), introduced S.J.Res.1 to remove the deadline to ratify the ERA. In March, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance the Equal Rights Amendment by removing the ratification deadline. We urge the Senate to follow the House and remove the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment. (3-2021)