It has been 100 years since women in Indiana won the right to vote. In celebration of that anniversary, female state legislators are introducing a group of bills that focus on women, mothers, and working families.
Seventeen women who make up the majority of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus introduced the bills on Thursday; the anniversary of the Hoosier State ratifying the 19th Amendment.
At the top of the list of new bills is one creating equal pay for women.
The legislation would make it illegal for companies to pay men and women different wages for similar work.
According to State Representative Carolyn Jackson, who introduced the bill, women are paid on average $13,000 less for the same job.
Also new is a bill that would make all feminine hygiene products exempt from state retail tax.
“Today, in Indiana, if you buy Viagra, you do not pay taxes. So, this is a real inequity in our tax system,” State Rep. Carey Hamilton of Indianapolis. “This exemption could represent a small but relatively easy way for us to help Hoosier women and their families. It also sends a message that we respect and support women.”
Another would provide Postpartum Medicaid for pregnant women.
The fourth bill outlines material violence. This would allow law enforcement to consider it theft when a separated spouse withholds the property of their spouse.
The last bill introduced on Thursday would require Indiana businesses to provide birth control as part of their health care plans. It would also allow pharmacists to prescribe the contraceptive.
“Access to providers is something that limits some women in our state from being prescribed contraceptives. The expansion of pharmacists’ prescribing authority could meet the needs of Hoosier women, particularly in more rural parts of the state,” said State Rep. Rita Fleming.
These bills were presented by the first female majority of Democrats in the Indiana State House.