Women's Rights

Sen. Sanders supports women’s rights by challenging ongoing inequalities in our society.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

It boggles the mind that in this day and age, the average woman still only makes 78 cents for every dollar the average man makes. Vermont has one of the smallest wage gaps in the nation, but the gap still exists—and amazingly, both in Vermont and nationwide, the gap exists at every level of education and at every stage of a career. Sen. Sanders was a strong supporter of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that a woman who has suffered discriminatory pay can sue any time she gets a new paycheck. He has also consistently cosponsored and voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers to prove that pay discrepancies are based on qualifications, not gender.

Access to Healthcare

Sen. Sanders strongly believes a woman’s healthcare decisions should be between a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her employer. Birth control, like any other routine preventive medication, should be covered by insurance and coverage should not be dictated by an employer’s personal or religious beliefs. Sen. Sanders and 18 fellow Senators urged the Supreme Court not to undermine Congress’ intent to provide women with access to preventive health care in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Read the Senators’ amicus brief here.

Unfortunately the Court ruled against the healthcare interests of women and in favor of corporations. In response, Sen. Sanders cosponsored and voted for the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014, which would require employers to provide coverage for health benefits their employees are entitled to receive under federal law. He also supports the Access to Birth Control Act, which would require pharmacists to ensure patients with a lawful prescription can access birth control, and the Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2014, to ensure all women who rely on the military healthcare system have access to contraception coverage and family planning counseling.