As the first woman Speaker of the House, I stood on the shoulders of those who have come before me -- Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth -- and every other pioneer who fought to gain the right to vote and empowerment for women. I am committed to policies that ensure equality and opportunity for all women, from securing good jobs, equal pay for equal work, to improving access to affordable quality health care and education.
For too long, women have faced discrimination in the health insurance market -- often being charged substantially higher premiums for the same coverage as men. With the passage of comprehensive health insurance reform no longer will being a woman be considered a pre-existing medical condition.
I do not believe the government should be involved in making a woman's private medical decision, and I will continue to work to ensure a woman's right to choose. We must preserve the right to privacy while promoting a comprehensive approach to reproductive health care, including planning for healthy families and ensuring comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. As a former ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I have been a leader in the fight to ensure funding for international family planning efforts to provide basic services to the poorest women and children around the world.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported funding for programs that address violence against women in any form. As a proud sponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), I believe VAWA is a remarkable and important piece of legislation that deserves the continued support of Congress. I look forward to the eventual passage of the International Violence Against Women Act, which would integrate our nation's efforts to end gender-based violence into the U.S. foreign assistance programs.
More than 40 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VI, women continue to earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In January of 2009, the House passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which provides a remedy for women and men who have been victims of pay discrimination. President Obama signed this bill into law on January 29, 2009.
It has long been clear that the missing link for women at all income levels to succeed in their jobs is the availability of quality, affordable child care. We must guarantee an economy and a society that supports the motto: "families earning, children learning."