Firing offenses are now legal rights

What is it that progressive women want from a candidate in 2016?

Let’s begin with what we don’t want. Candidates with a history of misogynistic statements and sexist behavior need not apply. You’re automatically disqualified.

To earn our vote, a candidate must support women’s health, including Planned Parenthood, a provider of health care for millions of American women. If you believe insurance coverage of contraceptives should be dependent upon an employer’s religious beliefs, you’re out. If you think women shouldn’t control their own reproductive health care decisions, forget about our vote.

It’s true that women are very concerned about our personal safety and security. If you believe closing the background check loophole at gun shows is an insufferable burden on an individual’s right to gun ownership, off the list you go. Protecting our children and family members from people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a gun is far too important to waste a vote on you.

Pay equity, mental health care, strengthening education funding are all issues women care deeply about, and so should you. We want to hear your plans to close the pay gap and better fund education and human services. If you don’t see the need, you’ve given us a great reason to cross you off the list.

In Nevada, we have the opportunity to elect our first woman to the U.S. Senate in a race that will likely decide majority control of the Senate. Catherine Cortez Masto is locked in a tight race with Joe Heck, who, by the way, professes not to be worried at all about temperamental Trump’s potential access to nuclear weapons. Heck is a staunch opponent of Planned Parenthood. His party stubbornly refuses to allow funding to combat the Zika virus to go forward until Congress specifically outlaws spending on women’s health care if it is provided by a Planned Parenthood affiliate, revealing a disturbing lack of concern about mitigating the risk to unborn children for all to see. Politics over people.

The contrast between the presidential candidates is even more stark. Trump’s advisors include the serial sexual harasser, Roger Ailes, whose employer, Fox, just settled with anchor Gretchen Carlson for $20 million and has apologized to several dozen additional women for a “Playboy Mansion culture” fostered by Ailes. That doesn’t trouble Trump, who has called women fat pigs, bimbos and once, according to Politico, described his second wife as “nice tits, no brains.”

Last week, Trump unveiled a fantasy child care and maternity leave plan full of promises but decidedly short on funding. Women are not fooled.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s Nevada campaign has created a statewide coalition of women volunteers, activists, leaders and supporters called the Glass Breakers, to coalesce voters in favor of candidates who stand up for the issues that matter most to women. They’re reminding women that just 40 years ago they could be fired for getting pregnant. My mother couldn’t get a credit card in her own name without my father’s signature of permission. And there was no hope of taking legal action against workplace sexual harassment.

Today, women continue to struggle to receive equal pay for equal work. Only 16 percent of American companies offer fully-paid maternity leave and employers are free to discriminate against women by denying insurance coverage for contraceptives. Accessing a legal abortion is almost impossible in many states.

This Saturday, Sept.24, the Northern Nevada Glass Breakers Women’s Summit will be held at Truckee Meadows Community College in the Sierra Building, Room 108, from 9 a.m. to Noon. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with Northern Nevada’s progressive female candidates and learn more about what you can do to help them help us.

For women, the choices we make in November matter more than ever.