Closing The Gap

Pete Buttigieg's women's rights agenda includes nominating a cabinet that's 50% women

Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign stop on September 23, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. Buttigieg is on this third day of a four-day bus trip around the state.
Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a 26-page women's rights agenda on Thursday that outlines how he will make women's advancement inside and outside of the workforce a top priority if elected president.

In the detailed document, Buttigieg says he would close the leadership gap that women currently face by nominating at least 50% women to cabinet positions and judicial seats in his administration, if he were elected. Additionally, he pledges to reinstate the White House Council on Women and Girls that was formed under the Obama administration to ensure gender equality is at the forefront of policy decisions.

Similar to the promises many of the other democratic presidential candidates have already pledged, Buttigieg says he would close the gender pay gap women face at work (but did not provide many details on how he would do that), and he would provide 12 weeks of paid family leave to "all working Americans."

Though his plan around child care is vague in his proposal, the Indiana mayor says he would also make childcare free for families in need, as a "lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care prevents women from joining or remaining in the workforce." Buttigieg also adds that he would invest $10 billion to end workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination, as these issues "deprive women of income and opportunities to advance at work."

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, June 12, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

In his proposed agenda, he highlights that over 40% of women today say they've faced discrimination at work, and 35% say that sexual harassment is a problem in their workplace.

To ensure that women are also receiving access to proper healthcare, Buttigieg says he would eliminate the health-care barriers that transgender women face, and he would make certain that LGBTQ+ women receive respectful care.

Additionally, the 37-year-old presidential candidate says he would improve maternal and infant health care, and he would focus on eliminating the disparities women of color face during childbirth. Currently, the U.S. is one of 13 countries where the maternal mortality rate has worsened in the last 25 years, and data shows that black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy or child-birth related causes than white women.

Earlier this year, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren also proposed plans to fix the maternal mortality crisis that disproportionately affects women of color.

In addition to health care and workplace opportunities, Buttigieg says he would also ensure that women are properly honored for their role in American history. As president, he pledges to support a Women's History Museum on the National Mall, create a commission to increase the number of national monuments that are dedicated to women, and he pledges to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Earlier this year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that initial plans to put Tubman on the bill had been delayed by six years for technical reasons and that there is a possibility that the bill may no longer include the former slave and abolitionist.

In a tweet announcing his plan, Buttigieg emphasized that as president his plan is to "build lasting power for women in America."

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