Sunday, 8 June 2008

Policy Focus: Women's Issues

Continuing on with our look at Obama and his policies towards women, I just want to have a quick look at his record in this area.

Women for Obama has a good rundown of his many efforts on behalfo fo women's issues, and it is well worth reading their entire page. But let me flag up a few highlights in particular about the issue of violence against women - because this is an area that doesn't get nearly the amount of national attention it deserves.

Victims Economic Security and Safety Act: In Chicago, Obama served as the main sponsor of this bill, which was passed into law in 2002. The law ensures that anyone who is a victim of a domestic or sexual violence is given the right to take a leave from their employment to get necessary legal or medical assistance. Obama decided to introduce this legislation after meeting with advocacy groups for battered women. "They came to me and indicated how difficult it is for victims of physical and sexual abuse to deal with the repercussions of an assault and then try to balance it with work and everything else."

Obama Was a Co-Sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, which would have authorised significant allocation of funds to combat violent crimes against women, prohibited law enforcement officers, prosecutors, or other government officials from requiring sex offense victims to submit to a polygraph examination as a condition for proceeding with an investigation or prosecution of a sex offense, established a sexual assault services program among other things.

On several occassions, Obama has voted for, co sponsored or introduced legislation in the Illinois Sentate to increase penalties for repeated perpetrators of domestic violence, provide women greater protection through strengthened court orders, and calling for higher standards in the medical treatment of domestic violence victims.

And what of the competition? Well, John McCain is more famed for his military advocacy than his support for victims of domestic violence. However, he did at least have the good grace to fire his New Hampshire Press Secretary after he allegedly punched his girlfriend so hard he broke her ribs. So that's something, I guess.

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