Rey Garduño represents Albuquerque city council District 6.
This opinion piece is also signed by Democratic State Representatives Georgene Louis and Patricia Roybal-Caballero.
As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day across the country today, a day commemorating the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote, let us also pause and consider the significant work ahead.
Particularly in our beloved state of New Mexico, women and families continue to shoulder more than their fair share of the burden of our state’s struggles with poverty and child well-being.
Women, particularly women of color, are most negatively impacted by almost every existing economic policy. These inequities range from low wages to outdated workplace policies that deny women paid leave, to scheduling rules, to affordable quality early childhood education and care, to cuts to public services like food benefits, to criminalization of our families, to pregnancy discrimination and to access to health care, including contraception and abortion.
New Mexico women and families face these issues every day and need elected leaders with the courage to “Stand with Women” and their families by passing policies that will help them thrive and shape the future of our state.
At every level of government, we have the opportunity to either stand with New Mexico’s women and families or to end up standing in their way.
When Gov. Susana Martinez proposes cuts to SNAP (food stamps) benefits for 80,000 New Mexicans, the struggle with hunger faced by women and families intensifies.
When the State Senate’s Finance Committee blocks a proposal for contributing just 1 percent of the revenue from our state’s $15 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education, children of New Mexico’s women and families fall behind early on.
When Albuquerque’s mayor threatens to veto a fair workweek bill before it’s even introduced, many New Mexican moms face the heart-wrenching plight of having to work while their child is sick.
When an Albuquerque city councilor introduces a proven-to-fail curfew resolution, many mothers of young people of color worry about their children being increasingly criminalized and profiled as a result.
In place of these reactionary and punitive measures, it’s time to advance a proactive policy agenda and state budget that reflects New Mexican values, provides adequate education funding for our children to thrive, ensures an economy that works for all families, ends renewed attacks on reproductive health care and delivers real progress for families in our state.
As champions committed to standing with New Mexico women and families, we would certainly rather spend our time as elected officials working on solutions that move us all forward than debating narrow policies that restrict women’s ability to manage their own health care or make basic decisions about the size of their families. Enough is enough.
It’s time for us all to stand with New Mexico women and families, and also to call attention to those who stand in the way and leave families worse off than they are now.
Today, we join together with champions across our country who are making the pledge to Stand with Women.
We are kicking off an endeavor to engage over 10,000 New Mexico women and their families in the same commitment. We demand that those who are standing in the way of our priorities relinquish their narrow partisan agenda, and instead stand with women and families for the economic policies and reproductive care that will improve our lives and our New Mexico.