Politics Magazine

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Iowa College About Women's Issues

Posted on the 16 September 2015 by Jobsanger
Hillary Clinton Speaks At Iowa College About Women's Issues (This image Of Clinton in Iowa, found at MSNBC, is by photographer Scott Olson.)
On Monday, Hillary Clinton spoke to students at the University of Northern Iowa. Her focus was on women's issues (including campus sexual assaults). I thought it was a great speech, and I bring you a substantial part of it.
“So I’ve been talking about policy that is not always the most exciting kind of campaign rhetoric. But I think it’s important because we need an agenda about what we're fighting for in this campaign. Personalities are important-- I believe that. I’ve been around politics awhile. But you know what I have found is that you got to know what people tell you they are going to do because chances are they will try to do it. And that’s especially important when it comes to women and women’s issues.
“Because what you will find if you listen to the Republicans is they have a very different idea about what to do with the economy. Now clearly they want to go back to trickle-down economics. You’ve got to love them. I mean, I admire their persistence in believing in a failed policy. I suppose there is something that you’ve got to give them credit for there. But honest to goodness, we can’t afford to go through that again. That’s what they are all saying they would do as President. Cut taxes on the wealthy one more time. Get out of the way of corporations, let them pollute, let them exploit, let them take advantage of workers-- and it’ll all turn out okay. 
“Now, we know better than that. But it’s also important to listen to them when they talk about women. Because it is clear to me that a lot of what I believe is important for women, for families, and for our economy, is just not on their radar screen at all. So when I talk about strong growth, fair growth and long-term growth, I have a central plank about how we have to make it more available to women to be in the workforce and to afford to be there in order to stay engaged to contribute to their own well-being and that of their family and the economy. Because to me child care is a woman’s issue but its also a economic issue. Because when women are able to participate fully in the workforce, our economy grows. You just can look at the numbers again. Paid family leave is a woman’s issue, but it’s also an economic issue. You shouldn’t have to lose your paycheck or your job when you have a new baby or a family member gets sick. We make it just about as hard as we can imagine for women to be able to balance family and work. Now I know there are men who do it as well, but predominantly it is still women…caring for newborns and babies, caring for relatives, spouses, and parents and others.
“And equal pay, that shouldn’t even be debated, but we’re debating it. You know, I don’t understand why we still debate it.
“So any issue that affects women’s lives and women’s futures, and the future of families and our economy, is an issue I take seriously. And it’s one that I’m campaigning on, and I’m going to continue to speak out about. Raising the minimum wage is a woman’s issue, right? Two thirds of the people being paid minimum wage in America are women. And here’s one of the worst things, and a lot of Americans don’t know about this and I’m trying to talk about it so I can get a real groundswell of support…is when we raise the minimum wage in the Congress, which we will get to – it will be a hard job, but if we can elect some more Democrats for the next election, we will raise the minimum wage and when we raise minimum wages in states and localities, which I also support, do not forget there are people in many places in America today predominantly women who get what is called the tipped minimum wage. Do you know what that is? They can be paid as little as $2.13 an hour.
“Waitressing, bartending, hair salon employees. Because the theory is they will get up to the minimum wage with tips. The reality is, that’s often not the case. That in fact, they might not get those tips, or they have to be harassed on the job to get those tips. Or even worse, their employer pockets those tips. So when we raise the minimum wage, we are going to do away with this incredible injustice of the tipped minimum wage. People are going to all be eligible to earn the same minimum wage.
“So yes, we have to increase economic opportunity and we have to increase support for women doing work at home and work in the job. And that leads to me to something else we have to do and that is confronting the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.
“I saw heads nod when I said one in five women report they were sexually assaulted during college. Just look around you. If we were to have one out of every five women stand up, that would be a pretty big crowd.
“Think of the impact on their lives. They’re trying to manage the emotional, physical, sometimes the educational, financial fallout. They miss classes, some drop out, some never finish their education. Thankfully this is an issue that is finally gaining the attention it deserves. But it is not enough to condemn campus sexual assault, we need to end campus sexual assault.
“Thanks to the courage and determination of survivors and advocates, America is waking up to this challenge. And on campuses across the country, including very impressively this campus, people are coming together and coming up with solutions. I was really impressed by what I heard has been happening here at U and I since 2000 -- you got the first grant from that office Bonnie Campbell first led all those years ago, to begin having what is and certainly continues to be a very challenging conversation: everybody at the table, listening to people, coming up with a way to approach this problem and try to end it.
“President Obama’s administration has worked hard to shine a bright light on campus sexual assault and I intend to keep talking about it and building on that. Here’s why: right now in too many places, survivors don’t know where to go to go and find help. Some campuses don’t even offer support services including counseling and healthcare, so a lot of young women are truly lost and left out. Others present a maze of bureaucracy that forces survivors to navigate that without any real help at one of the most painful times of their lives.
“As President, I’ll fight to make sure every campus offers every survivor the support she needs, and we’ll make sure that these serves are comprehensive, confidential, and coordinated.
“I want to add, too, that although the survivors of sexual assault are predominantly women, this also happens to men. It happens to the transgender community-- it happens to others as well. So no matter gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race-- services have to be there for everyone.
“Now too often the process of addressing sexual assault on campuses is confusing and convoluted. And many who do choose, which is a hard choice I recognize, to report in the criminal justice system fear that their voices will be dismissed instead of heard. We need to ensure a fair process for all involved, whether it’s in campus disciplinary proceedings or a criminal justice system. Rape is a crime wherever it happens and schools and schools have an obligation -- I think it’s both a legal obligation and a moral obligation -- to protect every student’s right to get an education free from discrimination, free from fear, particularly as to one’s safety. So reports of sexual assault need to be treated with the seriousness, professionalism, and fairness they deserve.
“Now we have a great resource in our nation’s law students who on many campuses can help to navigate this process. There are some successful models of law school clinics across the country where students are already working alongside experienced attorneys. Back when I was in law school I volunteered for the New Haven Legal Services program. It’s one of the best things I did in Law School, it’s part of what inspired me to go work for the children’s defense fund after I graduated. And so I’m looking for good ideas that come from anywhere. I’ve heard some great ones upstairs. And I want to commend a young men from one of the fraternities here on campus, who has taken on the issue-- the fraternity has taken on the issue of working to try to change attitudes, to educate not only their fraternity members but the broader campus and event beginning to reach out in to the community. And I want to also commend a mentoring program for silence prevention that was originated her on campus.
“There are good smart solutions, we just need more of them. We need to spread them so that people have more access to them. There are the issues of responsibility and respect that start long before students arrive on campus. I don’t think it’s enough to try and get a better response once an assault has happened. We need to stop sexual assault from happening in the first place and we need strong prevention efforts to change attitudes associated with violence.
“We need to be spreading the ideas and talking to young people -- literally starting in high school -- about issues like consent and bystander prevention. This is a lot bigger than a single conversation at freshman orientation or, as I heard earlier, an online program that everyone has to take that's kind of in isolation. People have to talk about this, they have to listen to each other, they have to try to understand that this is a serious problem that can be solved. This is something that everybody can play a part in addressing. So today I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. And we’re with you as you go forward.
“And let’s remember sexual assault doesn’t just happen on our campuses. it happens in the workplace, it happens in the military. For too many, it happens in homes and in their communities. So we need to take this on as a broader campaign against violence that stalks and afflicts women and girls at home and across the world.
“Now, I’m well aware that when I talk about these issues like paid leave, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, sexual assault against people on campus, Republicans often say I’m playing the gender card. Well if supporting women’s health and women’s rights is playing the gender card, deal me in. Because that is exactly where I want to be."

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