A while back, I sent a letter to the White House regarding women’s rights. I mentioned that I was the spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote and described our mission. I forgot I even did this until today.
I know that it’s probably a form letter and Obama probably didn’t write it himself but I was happy to read that he has received other letters from people about women’s rights and I think it’s cool to know someone actually read it and took the time to reply. Below is the message:
October 22, 2012
Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about issues affecting women, and I appreciate hearing from you.
My Administration is working hard every day to promote equality, enhance women’s health and economic security, and ensure women have the opportunities they need and deserve at every stage of their lives. From my perspective, these are not just “women’s issues.” When women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men earn, this not only harms women, but families have to get by with less and businesses have fewer customers with less to spend. When a job does not offer family leave to care for a new baby or an ailing parent, this burdens both women and men. When insurance plans deny women coverage because of pre-existing conditions, it strains emergency rooms and drives up the cost of care for everyone. And when any American cannot fulfill his or her potential because of factors that have nothing to do with talent, character, or work ethic, we are all impacted.
The success of American women is critical for the success of American families and our economy. That is why I created the White House Council on Women and Girls during my first year in office and directed them to ensure every agency, department, and office in our Federal Government—with the policies they draft, the programs they create, and the legislation they support—takes into account the needs and aspirations of American women and girls. That work started with the very first bill I signed as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women. In 2010, I created the National Equal Pay Task Force to facilitate inter-agency coordination in identifying and combatting equal pay violations. As a result of these efforts, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has obtained more than $62 million in monetary relief since January 2010.
We are also working to equip women with the education and training they need to compete in today’s economy. Because women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs earn an average of 30 percent more than women in other fields, we are working to promote women and girls in STEM degrees and careers. In addition to passing the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is helping over 9 million students attend college, we also increased the number of students receiving Pell Grants by 50 percent. As a result of these increases, we are helping millions of students—including 2.3 million women—afford their tuition and reach for their dreams.
Additionally, we are working to expand opportunities for women by creating new jobs, supporting women small business owners and entrepreneurs, and promoting efforts to help women and men balance the needs of their families with the demands of their careers. Over the past three years, we repeatedly cut taxes for small businesses and provided over 16,000 loans worth more than $4.5 billion to female entrepreneurs. To promote workplace flexibility, we are working to make the Federal Government a model employer by adopting new policies on practices such as teleworking.
Finally, we are making significant strides in expanding access to, and improving the quality of, health care for women. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now required to cover preventive care without cost-sharing, and in 2011, more than 20 million American women were eligible to receive services such as mammograms, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care without co-pays or deductibles. As of August 2012, the covered services also include contraception and domestic violence screenings. By 2014, it will finally be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to women because they have a pre-existing condition such as breast cancer or pregnancy, and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. For more information on health care reform, please visit www.HealthCare.gov or www.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform.
I am also committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose while supporting policies and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, assist pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.
To learn more about how my Administration is working to support women at all stages of their lives and careers, please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Women. Thank you, again, for writing.