by Pramila Jayapal
Courage and resilience. That’s what International Women’s Day means to me. These are the qualities I have seen firsthand working with women in America, and in countries around the world.
Whether fighting for forest conservation in India, maternal mortality in Nepal, labor rights in factories in Bangladesh, or immigration reform in Washington, D.C., women everywhere work tirelessly to achieve equal rights.
Today I celebrate the incredible women across the world who risk their lives to fight for their families, communities and countries. But while we have a lot to celebrate, we also have a lot of work to do.
Here in America, we’re ready to go back on offense, remind politicians that we are powerful women, and that it’s time to stand with us.
That means raising the minimum wage and getting rid of tipped wages, so that millions of women can earn a decent living and not be subject to the harassment and uncertainty of the tipping culture. That’s why I helped raise the minimum wage in Seattle, and have been fighting to raise it in Washington.
It means fighting for pay equity, because it’s simply unfathomable that women still only earn 77 cents on a man’s dollar — and that women of color earn even less.
It means bringing undocumented women out of the shadows and giving them a chance to build a more hopeful future.
It means expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care and stopping politicians from trying to make decisions about our bodies.
It means refusing to accept the terrorism wrought when the Pullman Planned Parenthood Clinic was set on fire in a horrific act of violent arson.
And it means standing with the Pullman Clinic as it celebrated its reopening last month — exemplifying the courage and resilience of the community that rebuilt it.
Last year in the State Senate, I helped ensure that all women would have the same access to IUDs and other effective methods of contraception. Because of that work, millions of women across our state are now able to access birth control and reclaim their personal and economic independence.
These are just some ways that we fight and win together. I’ve had a lifetime of standing with women and getting things done. Now, I’m ready to take all of these stories and experiences of courage and resilience to Congress.
On this International Women’s Day, I hope you will join me in standing up for the fight to achieve gender parity.