Gillibrand's Fight: The War on Women

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Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) talked about the new White House report on the status of women and the potential impacts of the House Republicans' budget cuts.

New York's junior Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) has criticized the Republican-proposed budget cuts as a masquerade for ideology that is unfair to women. She's called it a "misjudgment" of what the American people want.

She pointed to cuts to nonprofits that deal with health care for women as an example. These aren't just jabs at reproductive care, they're jabs at overall health care, she said.

I feel like it's much more of an all-out assault on women that is not just about reproductive rights. Apparently they don't believe that women's health care should be funded. Companies and organizations and not-for-profits like Planned Parenthood, that's their job. They outreach to at-risk women and deliver a full range of health care services to them, including mammograms and pre-cancer screenings and including prenatal care, so when the pregnant women needs help to make sure that the child she bears is healthy, they don't even want to fund that.

Sen. Gillibrand highlighted data in the White House's report on women on the stubborn wage gap between women and men. The report found that women are more likely to be heads of households in single parent families than men and these women have the lowest family earnings among all family types.

So the statistics and studies show that when women earn less, it affects children. It's the number one indicator of how much that child will have opportunities for education or health care or to really reach their potential so it really hurts children when women earn less than their male counterparts for the very same work...For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 78 cents on that dollar.

Sen. Gillibrand's big concern is women that aren't entering advancing fields, like math and science. Another finding in the White House report showed that even though women earn more bachelors degrees overall, they earn less than half of the degrees in math, physical science, engineering and computer science, and those numbers are on the decline.

There aren't enough women in the higher levels of most professions, including politics, Gillibrand said.

We have so few women who are running for office. We still only have 17 women in the United States Senate...those are terrible indicators. Women have to be involved because if they don't participate, decisions are going to be made about every aspect of their lives and they might not like what those decisions are.