To say that this hasn’t been a particularly contentious presidential election season would be like saying that water isn’t wet.
While the majority of media attention has gone towards the presidential candidates, it is equally important, if not more so, to also discuss the issues individual states are voting on this year. Although it could be argued that every issue is a women’s issue, here are a few that stand out on this year’s ballot.
Minimum Wage Increase
This year, four states are voting on whether or not to increase their minimum wage, and with women making up almost two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in the U.S., this is definitely an important women’s issue.
A “yes” vote on Arizona’s Proposition 206 would initially lead to a $1.95 increase (from $8.05 to $10) in 2017, and then would slowly rise to reach $12 by 2020. Prop 206 would also allow a specific amount of paid time off for illness.
In Colorado, voters will choose whether or not to raise the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30, in addition to increasing the wage by about a dollar each year. Amendment 70 would establish a $12 minimum wage by 2020.
The Maine Minimum Wage Increase would also gradually add to wages until reaching $12 an hour in 2020.
Initiative 1433 makes Washington the only state voting on this year’s ballot for a minimum wage of over $12. Washington’s minimum wage currently rings in at $9.47 an hour; Initiative 1433 would incrementally raise this amount until it reached $13.50 by 2020. The initiative would also require paid sick leave from employers.
In 2015, one in ten women were without health insurance. Of those between the ages of 19-64 who did have health insurance, 17% relied on Medicaid for coverage, and 24% were listed as dependents on their family’s or spouse’s health insurance policy. The amount of female dependents on a healthcare plan was over 10% higher for women between the ages of 19-25. Being a dependent on another person’s plan puts women in an a precarious position; if the person they are depending experiences a shift in salary or loss of a job, then their health insurance plan may be affected.
In California, Proposition 61, Drug Price Standards, would determine whether or not the state is required to buy prescription drugs for, at or below the same price as the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. A vote of “no” on 61 is supported by “pharmaceutical companies or companies with interest in the pharmaceutical drug industry.” Meanwhile, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has contributed the majority of donations to Prop 61 opponent group, Californians for Lower Drug Prices.
Also in California, Proposition 52 would determine whether voters get a say in when legislature decides to change hospital fees that would normally contribute toward Medi-Cal, a healthcare program for low-income residents of California.
Although these are the main categories being voted on that affect women, there are sure to be more issues brought up as we usher in a new president. What women’s issues do you care most about being tackled, and how is your state handling them? Let me know in the comments.