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Democracy Awards

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Women's Rights

Despite the tremendous progress made in the struggle for gender equality, women still face violence, discrimination, and institutional barriers to equal participation in society. Nearly a hundred years after women’s suffrage, the United States has not yet guaranteed equal constitutional rights to women. Women continue to face the impacts of gender discrimination in many forms from their pay, workplace protections, social stresses, healthcare and reproductive rights, education, and numerous other areas.  


Working for You

Congressman DeSaulnier is committed to furthering gender equality. Mark continues to be a vocal advocate for policies that help create equal opportunities for women in the workplace, our educational systems, and society at large.

Workplace Opportunity

Congressman DeSaulnier is proud to cosponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R.1619), which would help address the wage gap between women and men working the same jobs. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close the loopholes that allow pay discrimination to continue in the first place and providing employees the rights they need to challenge and eliminate pay discrimination in the workplace.

Mark is also a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act (H.R.932) to allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year to recover from short-term illness, care for a sick family member, seek routine medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence. This important legislation will strengthen families, communities, and the economy.

Reproductive Rights

Mark is a cosponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R.448) to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion across the country by blocking medically unnecessary abortion restrictions being pushed forward in state legislatures.

The Congressman is also a cosponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (H.R.2972) to remove the bans that prevent women from receiving coverage for abortion services through Medicaid so that all women, no matter where she lives, where her insurance coverage is, or how much money she makes, will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services.

Constitutional Equality (Equal Rights Amendment)

Mark is pleased to cosponsor a number of efforts provide women equal constitution rights, including H.J.RES.51, which would remove the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment, and H.J.RES.52, to create a new amendment to the Constitution of the United States to declare equal rights for men and women.

Other Legislation to Improve Equality and Fairness for Women

The Congressman to cosponsor a variety of policies to remove some of the structural barriers that prevent women from equal participation in society, including policies to promote breastfeeding and provide childcare for parents. Among these efforts are:

  • Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (H.R.2530) by Representative Tammy Duckworth: This legislation would require all large and medium hub airports in the U.S. to provide a private space in each terminal for mothers to express breast milk.
  • Support Child Care for Veterans (H.R. 1496) by Representative Brian Higgins: To improve the access to child care for veterans receiving health care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.