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Christine Quinn and the Women's Equality Party Will Bring Incredible Changes to New York

Christine Quinn and the Women's Equality Party Will Bring Incredible Changes to New York

Christine Quinn and the Women's Equality Party Will Bring Incredible Changes to New York

Ladies, it's time to use your vote to make our voices heard

As 2014 winds to a close, it's clear to see that the fight for the fair, equal, and safe treatment of women in the U.S. is far from over. We've certainly made a lot of progress, but it seems like every time a woman stands up for feminism, equality, or the like, there is a surge of support closely followed by a vitriolic backlash from all the scariest corners of the Internet and government, proving there is still much to be accomplished. 

Luckily the waves of change are taking over New York state on election day next week with a new party on the ballot that aims to bring women's issues and voices to the forefront, with former New York City Council Speaker and 2013 mayoral candidate Christine Quinn leading the burgeoning Women's Equality Party.  Their aim is to end the glaring injustices and lack of protection from discrimination that women still face in the state of New York, with an eventual goal of taking these reforms to a national level. In order for the party to be officially recognized by the state, the WEP needs 50,000 votes for Cuomo/Hulchol next Tuesday on its party line, and once this happens it will start actively working to bring about real change.

"What we are," Quinn told SheWired said with her trademark passion and conviction, "is an expression of women's frustration and women's anger. This movement and this years' election is really an effort to stand up and say 'enough,' to give women more political muscle, and to move us in a direction where women's issues can no longer be considered 'other,' extraneous issues which people can disregard."

The push for the Women's Equality Party, formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and his close supporters, comes on the heels of the disappointing failure of the New York State Senate to pass what would have been a groundbreaking piece of legislation—the Women's Equality Act—last year. The WEA focused on a 10-point agenda that aimed to end discrimination and codify legal protection for women on issues ranging from sexual harassment to workplace discrimination to pro-choice laws. Quinn and her colleagues were crushed by the outcome, but the sadness quickly led to anger and galvanized a renewed push towards bringing women's issues to the forefront.

As an out lesbian and a woman, Quinn said, "I am passionate about these issues because they are who I am, literally and figuratively." She stressed her commitment to include lesbian, bisexual, and trans women's issues in the party's agenda, stating that passing the gender non-discrimination act is at the forefront of her mission. She brought up the issue of healthcare and how physicians and practices discriminate against LGBT women without even meaning to—from forms that ask specifically for a husbands name to doctors assuming that their patients are all straight. Quinn expressed every LGBT person's awkward experiences with healthcare — for example, being a queer woman at the gynecologist — when she said, "I don't even think they mean it, but these types of questions force you to come out in that moment and that's a very vulnerable position for LGBT women to be placed in. It's difficult to get women to engage in primary healthcare as it is and we don't want anything out there that is discouraging or dissuading them."

Quinn says she plans to use the party as a platform to drive immediate action on legislation that would achieve results that women have been waiting for years to happen.

"[My god daughter] worked really hard to get to college and is working really hard now," Quinn says. "I want to make sure that she will be paid the same as the men in her class and the men in her future law firm; that when she decides to have baby that this decision won't be a problem for her career." 

Regarding the current state of feminism in the country Quinn says she is optimistic that increasing numbers of young women are standing up for themselves, including rallying on college campuses against sexual assault. And while there are some who would accept the concept we live in a post-feminist time, Quinn says society is not quite there yet.

"I would absolutely love that," she says. "But when you have the head of Microsoft speaking to a female conference; a room of women tech folk, and telling them that they shouldn't ask for raises, that they should just wait for karma — that right there says it all. It's just crazy — totally bizarre. We still have a long way to go."

So ladies (and gentlemen), if you believe that women and men should be treated equally in all facets of life and if you live in the great state of New York, please let your voices be heard by getting out to the voting booths next Tuesday and voting for Cuomo/Holchul under the Women's Equality Party ballot line. With women like Christine Quinn at the forefront of this movement change is definitely afoot. 

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Katie Boyden