Today is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The day began in 1911 when 15,000 women marched through New York City to "demand voting rights and better working conditions."
We've highlighted a variety of bills specifically related to women in the United States and abroad. Here's a quick look at bills related to women's veterans, health care, workplace rights, and international affairs. Learn more about bills that interest you, and weigh in on bills you support and oppose.
- Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R. 1439 / S. 786) would create a national insurance program for paid family medical leave, housed under the Social Security Administration. The bill would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income (66% of monthly wages, up to a capped amount) when they take time for medical reasons related to themselves or those of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner. The program includes coverage for workers who are self-employeed, work part time, or work for small businesses. Employers and employees would contribute to the fund, paying 0.2 percent of the employee's wages.
- Healthy Families Act (S. 497 / H.R. 932) would allow businesses with 15+ employees to earn up to 7 job protected paid sick days each year (businesses with <15 employees would earn the same amount of unpaid sick days). The bill would allow victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to use paid sick days to recover or seek assistance. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked (up to 56 hours per year). Employers would have flexibility as to how a "year" is defined (for the purposes of sick time accrual) and could require certification if an employee uses three consecutive paid sick days.
- Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 1512 / H.R. 2654) would provide process for employer and pregnant worker to determine appropriate accomodations and protect pregnant workers from retaliation, coercion, intimidation or interference if pregnant workers request or use such accomodations. Provisions would apply to employers with 15+ employees and to both job applicants and employees. The bill provides an exemption for businesses if an accomodation imposes undue hardship on the employer.
- Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 862 / H.R. 1619) requires employers to demonstrate that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.
- H.R. 1787 Fair Pay Act of 2015 would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin.
- Women's Pension Protection Act of 2015 (S. 2110 / H.R. 4235) would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to extend spousal consent requirements and allow certain long-term part-time workers to participate in particular pension plans. The bill would also grant awards to community-based organizations working to improve the financial literacy of women who are working age or in retirement.
- H.R. 4027 The Women's Small Business Ownership Act amends the Small Business Act to direct the Small Business Administration Office of Women's Business Ownership to address issues concerning specified disciplines required for starting, operating, and increasing a small business.
- H.R. 2773 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act authorizes the Department of Education to provide grants to local educational agencies to encourage the ongoing development of programs and curricula for girls and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and prepare those students to pursue degrees and careers in such fields.
- H.R. 57 Equal Rights and Access for the Women of South Sudan Act would require the U.S. to support basic human rights of women and women's participation and leadership in activities related to governance in South Sudan.
- S. 224 Women, Peace, and Security Act would ensure the U.S. promotes women's meaningful inclusion and participation in mediation and negotiation processes undertaken in order to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict and implements the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
- H.R. 1340 International Violence Against Women Act would establish an Office of Global Women's Issues and establish a Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The bill would direct the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues to develop or update a strategy every five years to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.
- Girls Count Act of 2015 (S. 802 / H.R. 2100) encourages countries to support the rule of law and ensures girls and boys of all ages are able to fully participate in society, with provisions such as providing birth certificates, enhancing training and capacity-building in key developing countries, and supporting programs that address the needs of birth registries in countries where girls are systematically undercounted.
- H.Res. 62 Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives Regarding Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Girls in the United States expresses support for efforts to provide protections for sexually exploited and trafficked girls and to create criminal or civil penalties for persons buying or selling a child through a system of child trafficking.
- H.Con.Res. 29 Recognizing the Disparate Impact of Cimate Change on Women and the Efforts of Women Globally to Address Climate Change recognizes the disparate impacts of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address it and the need for balanced participation of men and women in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. This bill encourages the President to integrate a gender approach in all U.S. policies and programs that are globally related to climate change.
- H.Con.Res. 35 Recognizing the Significance of Equal Pay Day to Illustrate the Disparity Between Wages Paid to Men and Women highlights the disparity between wages paid to men and women and its impact on women, families, and the nation.
- Women's Health Protection Act (S. 217 / H.R. 448) would prohibit any government from imposing on abortion services, such as requiring a medical profession to perform specific tests, implementing a limitation on an abortion provider's ability to prescribe or dispense drugs or services via telemedicine, and limiting the physical plant or facilities where abortions are performed.
- S.Res. 37 A Resolution supporting Women's Reproductive Health Care Decisions expresses support for efforts to ensure that women have access to the best available health care and information, including comprehensive, affordable insurance coverage and health care that fosters safe childbearing. This bill prohibits employers or government entities from interfering with reproductive health care services guaranteed by law and guarantees the constitutionally protected right to safe, legal abortions.
- S. 674 21st Century Women's Health Act of 2015 amends the Public Health Service Act to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants for family planning service projects, expansion of family planning preventive health services, and training of nurse practitioners specializing in women's health care. This bill would amend the Social Security Act to require state Medicaid programs to offer free preventive care, including contraceptives.
- S. 78 Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act requires a person who performs an abortion to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Exempt from this requirement is a person who performs an abortion that is necessaary to save the life of a other whose life is endangered by a physical condition. This bill would require each abortion clinic that receives federal funds or assistance to be licensed by the state and be in compliance with the requirements for ambulatory surgery centers (under XVII of Social Security Act).
- H.Res. 47 Supporting Women's Reproductive Health Care Decisions expresses support for efforts to ensure that women have access to the best available health care and information, including comprehensive, affordable insurance coverage and health care that fosters safe childbearing. This bill prohibits employers or government entities from interfering with reproductive health care services guaranteed by law and guarantees the constitutionally protected right to safe, legal abortions.
- Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act (S. 737 / H.R. 2253) would amend title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to require primary care services furnished in the two years after the Act's enactment by a physician with a primary specialty designation of family medicine, general internal medicine, or pediatric medicine be paid at a rate that is not less than 100% of the payment rate that applies under Medicare Part B, but only if the physician self-attests as being Board certified in those areas. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to examine the use of alternative payment models in state Medicaid programs and identify opportunities for disseminating successful payment models.
- H.R. 2355 Women's Preventive Health Awareness Campaign amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Department of Health and Human Services to provide for a national public outreach and educational campaign, including a website, to raise awareness of women's preventive health.
- S. 2226 Improving Treatment for Pregnant And Postpartum Women Act of 2015 amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women and to establish a pilot program to provide grants to State substance abuse agencies to promote innovative service delivery models for such women.
- Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2015 (S. 358 / H.R. 742) expands the TRICARE health care program managed by the Department of Defense to entitle additional female beneficiaries and dependents to care related to the prevention of pregnancy. The bill would provide for pregnancy prevention care to include all methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling. The bill would also require military treatment facilities to provide emergency contraception (or information about FDA-approved methods of emergency contraception) to any women who states she is a victim of sexual assault or is accompanied by another individual who states that the woman is a victim of sexual assault or is reasonably believed to be a survivor of sexual assault
- S. 469 Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 directs the Department of Defense to furnish fertility treatment and counseling, including through the use of assisted reproductive technology to a spouse, partner, or gestational surrogate of a severely wounded, ill, or injured member of the Armed Forces who has an infertility condition incurred or aggravated while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces. The bill would also authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay adoption expenses (for up to three adoptions) for a severely wounded, ill, or injured veteran who has an infertility condition incurred or aggravated in the line of duty and who is enrolled in the VA health care system.
- S. 471 Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act of 2015 directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish standards to ensure that all VA medical facilities have the structural characteristics necessary to adequately meet the gender-specific health care needs of veterans. The bill would direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct examinations of whether VA medical centers are able to meet the health care needs of women veterans.
- S. 2437 Women Airforce Service Pilot Arlington Inurnment Restoration Act of 2016 directs the Department of Army to ensure that the cremated remains of persons who served as Women's Air Force Service Pilots are eligible for inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.
- H.R. 4570 100 Years of Women in Congress Act amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to designate as Jeannette Rankin Women and Minorities in STEM Fields Program and grants the current research and extension grants to increase participaton by women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
- H.R. 1721 To reauthorize appropriations for the National Women's Rights History Project Act reauthorizes the National Women's History Project through FY2019. The Project preserves and promotes historic sites significant to the women's rights movement and will establish a Votes for Women Trail linking women's suffrage movement sites throughout New York.
- S. 925 Women on the Twenty Act amends the Federal Reserve Act to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of private citizens to advise and make recommendations regarding the likeness of a woman to appear on the face of $20 bill.
- H.Res. 629 Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Women's History Month
- H.Res.137 Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Women's History Month
- S.Res. 388 A Resolution Supporting the Goals of International Women's Day
Think of a bill that should be included on this list? Tweet us your suggestions @POPVOX.
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.