Joyce Woodhouse: Speech on Women's History Month

Women's History Month Speech
By Senator Joyce Woodhouse
March 10, 2015

March is Women’s History Month, and March 8th was International Women’s Day, where people around the world celebrated the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. The 2015 theme for International Women’s Day was “Make It Happen” – encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women globally. 

With that theme in mind, I’d like to go through some statistics. Many of you probably saw the report released over the weekend from WalletHub, where Nevada was ranked 8th worst state in the country for women.

  • Nevada has the highest unemployment rate for women in the country.
  • We also ranked 50th in both female uninsured rate and women’s preventative health care.
  • We are 34th in high school dropout rates for women, and 28th in the percentage living in poverty.

Now let’s go beyond Nevada’s boundaries.

  • The US is 1 of 9 countries worldwide that does not provide for paid maternity leave.
  • Women now earn the majority of college degrees in America BUT, they only make up 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s.
  • American women only make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes for the same job.
  • 1 in 3 women in the world will suffer physical or sexual violence
  • In state legislatures around the county, women only represent 24% of over 7,300 seats.
  • Overall, America ranks 95th in the world for percentage of women in its national legislature.

After reading these statistics, one thing comes to mind: we can do better. We have to do better. And to continue with the theme of yesterday’s International Women’s Day, let’s Make It Happen.

I want to remind all of my colleagues here today that as legislators, we have an opportunity to take steps toward gender equality in Nevada every time we come into this building. This session we have a chance to pass an equal pay bill with some real teeth. We also have a chance to pass a clean bill that will protect survivors of domestic violence. There are countless other bills that can “Make It Happen.”

When considering these pieces of legislation, I urge all of you to remember the statistics I just read. More importantly, I urge all of you to think of our daughters, our mothers, our sisters. Think of the women who contribute to Nevada everyday and fight for them. Thank you. 

Here are a few ways you can help make a difference.