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Pa. women left behind

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Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 11:12 a.m.

So much for Pennsylvania as the birthplace of freedom and democracy. A recent report from the Center for American Progress gave our commonwealth a “C-” grade for how it treats the 6 million women living here.

We rank 28th among the 50 states on women's rights, meaning women here have a long path ahead before they get a fair shot at achieving economic security and living a healthy life. Worse, we scored a “D+” on economic factors for women (e.g., we make 76 cents to every dollar a man makes;15 percent of us live in poverty), a “D” in leadership (the Congressional delegation contains one woman and we hold less than 37% of the managerial positions) and a “C” in health (there's only one OB/GYN for every 20,000 women, we have the nation's 12th highest infant mortality rate and our Legislature makes it as difficult as possible for women to get reproductive health care).

Pennsylvania women deserve an equal shot at a good life and a state where they are treated equally at home, work and school. They deserve a seat in the boardroom and in government, and basic economic security and proper health care. They deserve the freedom to decide whether or not to have children based on their beliefs, not under the boot of other people's politics or religion.

We need to be smart about who we elect and make our voice heard by voting, because Pennsylvania badly needs to get on the right track for women.

We've made great strides in the last 50 years, but this report shows we have miles to go. Women and men of Pennsylvania: Unite to effect real change for women, whether it is access to health care, economic security or freedom from violence.

Kate Michelman


Sue Frietsche,


Michelman is co-chairwoman of WomenVote PA; Frietsche is a senior staff attorney in the Western Pennsylvania office of the Women's Law Project.

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