Opinion: New women's issues, new challenges
Only 3% of tech startups are formed by women. We have a responsibility to improve our current labor trafficking laws. What they accomplished deserves more than a nod and lip service. Runaway youth come to Los Angeles to find stardom or a warm place to sleep on the street, but many will be exploited through pornography, a thriving industry in the San Fernando Valley.
Women are increasingly becoming the sole or primary earners in their household, so economic issues that hold women back have huge impact on our entire economy. Financially desperate adults are lured to Los Angeles by traffickers, only to be forced to work as laborers in Southern California's agricultural sector. We must honor them by making our generation's mark on the concerns facing women today. Instead of telling women that they're doing just fine, we need legi slators who are going to fight for students so they can attain the degrees they want and enter chosen professions without an insurmountable amount of debt.
I've represented victims of human trafficking in Los Angeles, which is a major trafficking destination because of its port, international airport, and proximity to Asia and Mexico. Our generation is ready to do that. We have a thriving tech industry, but men hold far more computer and mathematical occupations than women.
Many women not only face pay discrimination in the workplace, but struggle at home as well, trying to provide care for their family on top of their job. Women are still mostly the caretakers for their families, so they are disproportionately affected by the lack of guaranteed sick days and the lack of paid family leave.
Why aren't more women getting tech jobs? We need programs that promote STEM education for those who have historically been left out of these high-paying jobs.. Rand Paul sa id recently, look at how well women are doing at colleges across the country. From military sexual assault, to domestic violence, to rape on college campuses, we must do more to prevent violence against women.
Senator Paul also forgot to mention that some of the best-paying jobs, jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM), are still overwhelming dominated by men. And in industries like agricultural work, women are singled out for sexual abuse or exploitation.
But we forget that many poverty issues also impact women. What he failed to consider is that women are graduating not only with a degree, but with staggering level of student debt. Let's help women financially support their families as we create more good-paying jobs in our communities.
Story highlightsSandra Fluke: I feel humbled and grateful for women who fought for our rights Fluke: On this Women's Day, our generation is redefining what matters most to us She says top three issues are gender-related violence, education, economic equalityFluke: Helping women help men, children, families and communities
I can't help but feel humbled and grateful when I hear the stories of women who marched for women's rights in the 1970s and the suffragists who fought for the right to vote. Today is International Women's Day and March is Women's History Month. Raising the minimum wage is actually a "women's issue" because 64% of minimum wage workers are women. Unfortunately, that still includes goals we've fought too long for, like reproductive rights.
Many people think of sex trafficking as a "women's issue," but labor trafficking also has impact on women. As we celebrate all that women have accomplished in the struggle for gender equality, we are also redefining what counts as a "women's issue."
We often talk about the impact of pay discrimination on women's pocketbooks because it costs women on average more than $10,000 annually and jeopardizes their retirement security. Some of the industries in which labor trafficking is common, including domestic work, are dominated by women.
When we talk about women's issues, we must look comprehensively at the challenges all women face to ensure our policies reflect the support women truly need, because these concerns impact not only women, but their families and communities. It is hard to overstate how far behind America is compared to our global competitors when it comes to these basic policies that protect families.
Worldwide, about one in three women is victim of gender-related violence