Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Lt. Governor tells Vassar audience women are “under attack” from Washington

Hochul: "keep equality moving forward"

POUGHKEEPSIE – Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was at Vassar College Tuesday afternoon to introduce Governor Cuomo's 2019 Women's Justice Agenda to the college and community.

 Hochul indicated that this year's agenda seeks to build on the success of the 2018 agenda to "keep equality moving forward."  The lieutenant governor opened her remarks by telling the students and community activists that "women are under attack from Washington DC," which set the stage for the talking points for the forum.

The forum was sponsored by Vassar College President Dr. Elizabeth Bradley and was organized by the Women's Studies program in conjunction with the LGBTQ+ Center, the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Office, the Women's Center, and the Office of Community-Engaged Learning. 

 In introducing Hochul, Dr. Bradley reminded everyone that Vassar College was the perfect stage for the event, having been founded as a women's college in 1865. 

Bradley noted that since its inception, the college "has really championed issues related to feminism, progressiveness, women's rights, women's health, and women's ability to get educated and lead."  The college president said "we're still fighting these battles."

The 2019 Women's Justice Agenda has approximately 25 issues ranging from "Increased Protections Against Harassment in the Workplace" to "Girls in Government" and a wide array of topics in between. 

Among the issues being addressed are domestic violence prevention and affordable childcare.  Hochul said that the current model used to protect domestic violence survivors dates back to the 1980s and is outdated. 

"We have survivors of domestic violence in shelters and they have paid money to be in those shelters.  That's unfair and needs to cease immediately."  Hochul announced that Governor Cuomo is prepared to sign legislation ending that practice when it arrives on his desk.

Affordable childcare is addressed in the 2019 agenda, Hochul said.

 "It's no longer a family's problem – It's an economic development problem for the entire State of New York!" The lieutenant governor noted that the average yearly cost for daycare for one infant and one toddler is $28,000 while a full-time minimum wage job pays $32,000.  "It doesn't add up."

The agenda calls for several proposals including a regional approach to childcare.  Cuomo has tasked the Regional Economic Development Councils to include childcare as a priority in their 2019 strategic plans.  Each region will be required to consider the childcare needs of the region and the important impact access to affordable childcare can have on the region's economy. 

Karen Smythe, a graduate of Vassar College and member of the school's Board of Trustees, said affordable childcare is "crucial for women in order for them to be able to have the ability to go to school, finish school, have a job, and it really is an issue that we are way behind on."

The detailed 2019 agenda can be found here.


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