Like many career women, I have had to fight for equal recognition and equal wages. I believe in equal pay for equal work.
Wage disparity tells women that they are not valued, and the fact that Utah’s wage gap is the worst in the nation is disgraceful. It sends a message to the world that is contrary to Utah’s true values. We need to be attracting the businesses of the 21st century to Utah, and to do that, employers need to update this message by eliminating the pay gap.
The powers in our world today are out of balance due to many factors, one of which is that women are not involved enough in business and government. Our government needs women who can build consensus, foster tolerance, and show compassion. Women know how to nurture ideas and bring them to fruition just as we nurture our families. We know how to fight for what we believe in with ferociousness, just as we protect our kids. Our collective wisdom needs to be heard. Studies show that a critical mass of 3 women in a group of 10 can alter the “group-think,” allowing creative breakthroughs.
The Equal Rights Amendment is a confirmation of the value of women to our society, and its long-overdue approval is the patriotic choice.
Paid Family Leave
I support paid family and medical leave. If the family is the fundamental unit of society, then we need to recognize that the parents of newborns have a right to stay home during those crucial first weeks without fear of losing their jobs or their savings. Employees also deserve paid time off to heal from injury or illness, to grieve, and to help their loved ones heal.
Paid family leave also results in fewer infant deaths, better vaccination rates, and fewer women drawing on unemployment. For more of my thoughts on this issue, see this op-ed.
Reproductive rights are complex, and I empathize with the strong feelings on both sides of the issue. One of the gifts of living in our democracy is that freedom of belief and freedom of religion are cherished rights.
Abortions should be easily preventable, legal, and above all, rare. Women do not grow up aspiring to have an abortion; the experience can be unpleasant and often traumatizing. We should have compassion for any woman or family facing difficult pregnancy circumstances. People of faith must walk with those in need while respecting their agency to choose what is right for them. Above all, we must not be judgmental. Shaming those who terminate pregnancy only adds to the suffering they’re experiencing.
The best way to lower the number of abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, as numerous studies have found. I believe that a woman considering an abortion should counsel with her doctor, family, clergy, and chosen confidants before making her decision.
When abortions must happen, they should be provided by well-trained medical professionals in a safe, clean environment. Roe v. Wade has protected countless women from the potentially disastrous consequences of self-induced or incompetently performed abortions. Some women will always pursue abortions, so it is better if they do not have to risk their lives to get one. Our goal should be to minimize the need for abortions by providing women and families with the education and support they need. But when abortions must happen, they should be legal and safe.