Albany, New York –The New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues (NYSPAC) supports Governor Cuomo’s Women Equality Act, a 10-point plan calling for changes in New York State law to provide stronger protections against discrimination and inequality based on gender in the workplace and beyond.
“We applaud Governor Cuomo for his ground-breaking efforts to make sure that the women of New York State are represented and treated fairly,” stated Denise Murphy McGraw, NYSPAC co-chair. “NYSPAC has long advocated for legislation that improves the lives of women and children statewide. Pushing the Women’s Equality Act forward will make New York a trailblazer in these areas and go a long way toward breaking down barriers that perpetuate gender discrimination.”
“Women’s rights gained a momentous victory 140 years ago when we first gained the right to vote,” said Jonalie Korengold, President of the Junior League of Bronxville. “However in this day and age, we are still talking about women’s equality when by now it should already be a fundamental right. We need to ensure that New York women are in better positions economically, socially and physically which will lead to better lives overall for the women, children and families for which the Junior League as an organization champions so hard for every day.”
Among the key elements of the proposed legislative package are tougher laws to safeguard victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence, two issues NYSPAC has supported in recent years. NYSPAC fully backs initiatives within the Women’s Equality Act which would protect minors who are forced into prostitution, increases penalties for trafficking, and creates an affirmative defense in prostitution cases where the defendants themselves are sex trafficking victims.
“It is estimated that as many as 300,000 children are exploited annually through prostitution and pornography, and these amendments to the existing state human trafficking law will address many of the issues these victims face, including removing the requirement to prove ‘coercion’ when the victim is a minor,” said Lisa Hofflich, co-chair, NYSPAC and member of the Junior League of Bronxville.
In addition, the Women’s Equality Act proposes strong protection for victims of domestic violence by strengthening order-of-protection laws and prohibiting housing discrimination for said victims. This element aims to include victims of domestic violence to the list of protected persons against which housing discrimination is illegal, as part of the Human Rights Law. The law would ensure that this portion of the population will not be prevented from obtaining or maintaining housing as a result of their status as domestic violence victims.
Junior League members from throughout the state will be contacting their local legislators to urge action on these measures immediately and on their annual Lobby Day in Albany on April 16, 2013.
The New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of New York (NYSPAC) is made up of 18 Junior Leagues and represents more than 8,000 women from across the State of New York. NYSPAC takes action on select state and national issues that support its projects, educates individual League memberships on issues selected for action by NYSPAC, facilitates communication among the member Junior Leagues of New York State in the area of public affairs, provides training in advocacy skills and strategies, and acts as the representative of the member Leagues at the state and national level.
About the Junior League of Bronxville
The Junior League of Bronxville (JLB) has been an active and vocal women’s volunteer organization in Southern Westchester since 1948. It is dedicated to fighting hunger and improving nutrition in its service areas. As a 501(c)3 charity, its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.