How Do the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stack Up on Women’s Issues?

How Do the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stack Up on Women’s Issues?

Even though there’s over a year until the 2016 presidential election, the race to win primaries across the United States and secure the Democratic and Republican nomination is well underway. For the candidates that have already thrown their hat in the ring, a big topic up for debate is where they stand on civil rights: specifically, gender equality, reproductive health, and LGBTQ rights. Here’s your HelloFlo breakdown on who said what, and where.


Jeb Bush

  • Earlier in June, Bush made national headlines when it was revealed that he said that “people who are physically and mentally able to work […] should be able to get their life together and find a husband, find a job, find other alternatives in terms of private charity or a combination of all three.” This, along with a number of other statements on single mothers, came from the 1990s.
  • In more recent news, Bush said at an Iowa rally in June that he is not “in favor of shaming women” and that single mothers “do it heroically.”
  • It seems like his rhetoric about the status of women internationally has more to do with religious freedom than the issues that women face: when discussing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s statements on women’s health abroad, Bush made a strong statement condemning her comments regarding “deep-seated religious beliefs.”


Hillary Clinton

  • For Clinton, this is her second time running for the presidency – while it may simply be a strong desire to get ahead in politics, the fact that she is running sends a strong statement on what she think that women can do. That is, that women are highly capable of running a nation.
  • As far as women’s health goes, she believes that, “America moves forward when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own healthcare choices, not when those choices are taken away by employers like Hobby Lobby,” referring to the controversial Hobby Lobby decision where employers can make choices regarding the coverage of an individual’s healthcare due to religious beliefs.
  • Prior to her declaration of candidacy, Clinton said at Georgetown University’s awards ceremony for the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security that fighting for female economic security “is not just a women’s issue,” but rather, “a responsibility that we all share.”


Ted Cruz

  • A quick Google search of “Ted Cruz on women” comes up with some shocking results, like “Ted Cruz just laid out the most anti-women agenda yet” and “Ted Cruz, creepy misogynist.” Yikes.
  • According to Cruz, who has been visiting groups of voters to sway public opinion and strengthen his fan base, contraceptives like birth control are “abortion-inducing drugs.” Scientists have debunked his claim, as birth control is not designed to kill a fetus when a woman is already expecting.
  • While studying at Princeton, his alma mater, he was known for standoffish humor including a quip where he said that God should “give women a hymen that grows back every time she has intercourse with a different guy, because that will be a ‘visible sign’ of the breach of trust.” We strongly believe that people change and their beliefs on many different issues of the time will as well – however, Cruz’s voting record is indicative of little change. For example, he voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.


Bobby Jindal

  • Jindal, one of the first people of color to announce candidacy for the presidency, signed legislation last year that would close a number of abortion clinics in Louisiana. Interestingly enough, he also signed a law that would restrict sex education in public schools. This is bad for all genders, as lacking education in such a tricky field does the opposite of what it intends to do.
  • In 2012, Jindal announced his belief that birth control should be over-the counter to those over 18, as a way to ‘take away’ from the Democratic argument that birth control should be covered by health care. While his intent is to clearly manipulate how politics regarding women’s health should continue, it demonstrates a change in how he thinks women should have their own control over their reproductive health. No word on the conditions of how this should be changed, however.
  • Following the June 26 ruling that gay marriage will be legalized in all 50 states, Jindal released a statement on Twitter and his own website condemning the Supreme Court and reaffirming his belief that marriage is a traditional man-marries-woman standard. He also said that “if we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”


Bernie Sanders

  • Sanders has been making a splash among the younger generation with his admittedly socialist ideals, but another thing he’s become well-known for is a 1972 article in which he wrote that “a woman enjoys intercourse with her man – as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.” Not cool, Sanders. He recanted this article last month.
  • Aside from the horrific commentary on feminine desires of rape, his voting record over the past two decades are indicative of a change in how he views women. Sanders has sponsored some bills to protect women’s right, and voted a resounding ‘yea’ on every amendment or bill to come through the Senate chamber since 1996.
  • Take this video with a grain of salt, considering that it comes from the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign and can be very biased in favor of making him look appealing to voters. However, if we are to believe what’s said in this video, Sanders sees the value of women in their contributions to society, and will continue to do so in the White House.

There are many more candidates out there, and we here at HelloFlo encourage all of you to research what they think about women’s health, equality, and other important social issues before the 2016 election season kicks into full swing. Happy hunting!

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.