JWI continues to pursue a robust advocacy agenda on Capitol Hill that promotes the safety and economic well-being of women and girls. One issue that remains a high-level priority is advocating for the passage of comprehensive gun safety legislation, with a focus on expanding the background check system. Current laws have too many loopholes that allow abusers to access firearms. We know that just the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent- and we are committed to expanding the background check system so that dangerous individuals can no longer access firearms.
JWI strongly the supported the Manchin/Toomey proposal that would have expanded the background check system to private sales, including over the internet and at gun shows, but unfortunately this bipartisan compromise measure failed to pass the Senate in a 55- 46 vote. JWI continues to mount pressure on key Senators to reconsider and support this critical measure, and urges members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1565, sponsored by Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).
With women continuing to earn 77 cents to the dollar earned by a man, JWI continues to champion legislation that ensures women’s economic security and closes the stubborn gender wage gap. We support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.84/H.R.377), which would fight wage discrimination by updating the nearly 50-year-old Equal Pay Act. This bill, which currently has 46 co-sponsors in the Senate and 206 in the House, would improve remedies for pay discrimination, bar retaliation against employees who share wage information with coworkers, and facilitate class action suits in equal pay claims. JWI is advocating on Capitol Hill to gather more support for this critical legislation and urges all Members of Congress to co-sponsor and vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act.
In the coming weeks, JWI expects and will welcome the reintroduction of critical legislation that would elevate the issue of gender-based violence on a global scale: the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). One in three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime—with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries – and IVAWA is a necessary response to these staggering levels of violence. IVAWA would make ending violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority by permanently authorizing the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the State Department and codifying the Administration’s government-wide strategy to address gender-based violence in our existing international programs.