Alyssa Milano pushes for Maloney ERA bill

Alyssa Milano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Carol Robles-Roman, co-president of the ERA Coalition, by the Fearless Girl statue (Photo by Grace Harman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Alyssa Milano has joined in the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), legislation  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced 11 times she has been in office. Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor in Congress, was joined by the “Charmed” actress, along with the ERA Coalition and activists at the Fearless Girl statue on Monday to call for the ratification of the bill. This was a few days prior to a “shadow hearing,” or unofficial hearing Maloney held for the ERA on Wednesday.

Although the amendment passed Congress in 1972, only 35 states ratified it. Thirty-eight states need to ratify it to amend the Constitution. The right to vote is currently the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution and the ERA would guarantee that Constitutional rights apply equally to all persons regardless of their gender.

“This is an economic issue,” argued Milano on Monday. “When women earn more, it stimulates the economy and this would provide equal pay for women. Discriminatory laws are being enacted all the time but the ERA would put women on an equal footing.”

In addition to Milano, co-president of the ERA Coalition Carol Robles-Román and Jessica Lenahan, plaintiff in Supreme Court Case Castle Rock v. Gonzales, also testified at the hearing on Wednesday.

Continue reading

Maloney trying to pass women’s equality bill… for the 11th time

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney (center) with Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Girl Scouts of Greater New York CEO Meridith Maskara (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Maloney)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling on her colleagues to pass a federal and state Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which despite having been introduced at the federal level 11 times by Maloney, has yet to even get a vote.

Alongside Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and the New York Girl Scouts at the Fearless Girl statue in Lower Manhattan on Saturday, Maloney emphasized that the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution is the right to vote. The amendment, she argued, would prohibit denying equal rights to women under the law by ensuring that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally and would guarantee equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states.

While the bill was passed by Congress in 1972, it was three states short of ratification and has still not been brought to a vote. Maloney noted on Saturday, however, that her legislation has 28 new co-sponsors as of last Friday, for a total of 144, and Nevada ratified the amendment just last year, bringing the number of states needed for ratification down to two.

The bill needs to pass two successive legislatures and be brought to an election in New York to pass on the state level.

Continue reading

OP-ED: Change the status quo on changing stations

State Senator Brad Hoylman, pictured with daughter Silvia at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

State Senator Brad Hoylman, pictured with daughter Silvia at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By State Senator Brad Hoylman

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a new father, out to lunch with your significant other and your baby. You’ve just ordered your meal when you notice it’s time for a diaper change. You head to the men’s room, only to find it has no changing tables. Your only option is to change your child on the floor or the sink of a dirty bathroom.

As someone with a husband and a young daughter, I know this scenario all too well.

Across New York and much of the country, baby-changing stations in men’s restrooms are extremely uncommon. The lack of them is sorely out of step with the modern world and something that lawmakers can address.

Earlier this year, the TV star Ashton Kutcher took to Facebook to air his frustrations about the lack of changing stations. His post went viral, racking up more than 17 million likes and shares.

While on its surface, the issue of so-called “potty parity” for men may seem trivial, the enormous public response to Kutcher’s complaints demonstrates the resonance the issue has among men and women alike and points to larger gender imbalances in our society.

Continue reading