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AAUW: Child care legislation passage praised

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POTSDAM - The American Association of University Women, a member of the Steering Committee of the New York Women’s Equality Coalition, joins with other WEA members in applauding the Assembly’s passage of new legislation to improve access to child care subsidies and establish paid family leave in New York state.

Led by Assembly Speaker Silver and the Assembly’s Workgroup on Child Care, which includes the north country’s Addie Russell, the Assembly passed the legislation Wednesday afternoon in Albany. These bills complement the Women’s Equality Act and work in tandem to address the obstacles and challenges faced by New York families.

Together, these vital measures for women and their families will make critical upgrades to our laws and put our state back on the map as a leader for women’s equality - where New York belongs. Child care access, affordability and quality, and caring for family members are issues that North Country families struggle with every day.

Paid Family Leave insurance will go along way towards helping our families balance work and the demands of family life. Caring for newborns, young children, and sick or elderly family members often falls squarely on the backs of working women, already juggling many responsibilities.

Additionally, passing the Women’s Equality Act would be a major step forward for women. The New York State Assembly raised that bar, by proposing vital improvements to child care access and family leave that will further support women’s economic security. These measures will help to lift women out of poverty and bolster the middle class families, struggling to stay in the middle class.

It is the women of our state who disproportionately face unequal pay, discrimination, violence, and denial of access to healthcare. Securing women’s equality requires addressing a range of issues. It is clear to New York women that taking a comprehensive approach to strengthening our laws is critical. It’s simple: we can’t fully address women’s inequality by ignoring vital components of women’s lives.

The Assembly has made it clear that they are standing strong with the women of New York State. Now it’s up to the Senate. The women of New York have waited far too long already. It’s time for our State Senate to put politics aside and stand strong with women.

And since 2014 is a state-wide election year, these are issues that voters will be watching carefully to see if elected leaders get the importance of easing the path for the hard-working families of the state.

You can learn more about these critical needs by watching the interview with Assemblywoman Russell recently taped for North Country Matters, the local video public affairs magazine produced at WCKN. Mrs. Russell sat down with AAUW-NYS Public Policy VP Donna Seymour to talk about four issues of central importance to NYS families and the state’s economy: Paid Family Leave Insurance, Child Care, Pre-K and After School programs. Watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2_gTm7sgP4.

Membership in the St. Lawrence County Branch, founded in 1927, is open to anyone who supports the mission of AAUW: Advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

AAUW, with its nationwide network of more than 150,000 members and supporters, more than 1,000 branches conducting programs in communities across the country, and 869 college and university partners (including all four local collages), has been a leading advocate for equity and education for women and their families since 1881.

For more information about AAUW in St. Lawrence County, contact President Jennifer Ball at 268- 4208 or jball@clarkson.edu or Public Policy Chair Kathleen Stein at 386-3812, kstein1@twcny.rr.com, or visit the branch website, http://www.northnet.org/stlawrenceaauw/index.html.

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