WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in honor of Women’s Equality Day:
“America was founded on a promise of equality – a promise that we now understand applies not only to all men, but to all women. Equal rights and equal votes are vital, and heroic women dedicated their lives to winning them. In fact, today we celebrate the extension of the right to vote to all Americans, regardless of gender. But we also understand that formal equality is not enough, and that much remains before we can say that we have realized the true promise of equality.
“Right now, in the summer of 2009, the single greatest thing we owe women is reform of our broken health care system. Women are poorly served by a system that allows less than half of them to get health coverage through their work – coverage that is available to 57% of men but just 48% of women. Women often pay higher premiums, as well, especially when an inability to get coverage at work forces them onto the individual insurance market. As a result of restricted access and higher costs, many women today are in worse health. More than half of women said that they put off the medical care they needed because it was too expensive—or that they went without it altogether. Only 39% of men said the same thing.
“The struggle for equality may change from decade to decade, but the ideal remains the same in every place and time: that the future belongs to our daughters every bit as much as to our sons.”