For Mike, women’s rights are human rights, at home and abroad.

Voters demand a solid record of advocacy on issues of concern to women. Mike has been sensitive, effective, and at the forefront, taking actions that make real differences in women’s lives.


Mike joined with women throughout Massachusetts on January 21, 2017 in a rally and march to stand up to the misogynist bully who had just been inaugurated President of the United States. Many other men and children participated in that historic demonstration which occurred all over the country and in other parts of the world. Mike understands that, while it is important to stand in symbolic solidarity, voters demand a solid record of advocacy on issues of concern to women.

Women encounter challenges in the workplace that men do not experience. Mike’s wife, Barbara, was part of the first wave of women to break career barriers when she attended graduate school and got her first job as an accountant at an international firm. She was asked to get coffee at meetings and told that children could not fit into a career. When researching daycare options, they chose a cooperative center requiring parent involvement. Mike and Barbara shared their volunteer responsibilities and Mike served as President of the parent board. Those life lessons lead to political action.

Mike knows that the success of women in the workplace contributes crucially to financial security for families. Yet, in general, women continue to be paid less than men. British law requires publication of wage data and the results recently released by Barclays Bank may not have been surprising but they were troubling. The data revealed that women at Barclays are paid an average of 50% less than male employees. Mike used that data to challenge the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve to gather similar statistics for major U.S. financial institutions. Lower wages for women are a persistent problem and one that has, undeniably, a damaging impact on the economy. By shining a bright light on pay discrepancies and requiring the banks they oversee to address the issue, the Federal Reserve can help lead policy changes.

Mike championed pay equality by supporting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which lengthened the statute of limitations to sue for employment discrimination. He is supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act which prohibits employers from implementing practices that discriminate against job applicants or employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. Employers must make reasonable accommodations in these instances.

Mike’s record in Congress reflects the seriousness with which he protects reproductive freedom. He has always upheld a woman’s right to choose and her right to make her own decisions about health care. When he was Mayor of Somerville, Mike joined with Mayor David Dinkins of New York to call for U.S. clinical trials of the “morning after pill”. Mike’s record has earned him 100% ratings from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. House Republicans repeatedly seek to defund Planned Parenthood and Mike opposes this effort at every turn. Many women, and men, receive important health care services at Planned Parenthood clinics such as cancer screenings and routine preventative testing. For some patients, these clinics are the only health care option within a reasonable distance. Denying these clinics access to funding for routine health care puts people’s lives at risk and often leads to additional health care costs on an already overburdened system.

Mike’s record also reflects his resolve to do everything possible to help women who are victims of violence and sexual assault. He secured for the first time in U.S. history, an authorization for funding to provide services for victims of rape as a crime of war. He has consistently voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and to end human trafficking which overwhelmingly targets women and girls, in the United States and around the world. In individual cases, he has expedited visas that helped young girls escape Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and supported political asylum for battered women and for persecuted lesbians.

Mike strongly supports policies that help improve the lives of women in the workplace. As Mayor of Somerville, Mike was committed to increasing career opportunities for women. More than 50% of his department heads were women, including in Law, Personnel, Auditing, Elections, Treasury and Communications. He implemented higher wages and career ladders for positions primarily staffed by women at the time including nurses, librarians and clerical employees.

Mike made sure that family friendly initiatives were in place to make the challenges of balancing work and home life a little easier. This included flextime and job sharing as well as paid parental leave for both parents. He did this years before family leave was a requirement of state or federal law. Mike is working to advance legislation in Congress to build on the Family and Medical Leave Act by establishing a paid family leave program.

All of his adult life, Mike has been sensitive, effective and at the forefront, taking actions that make real differences in women’s lives. When he was mayor, Mike heard from domestic violence shelters that restraining orders too often failed to keep women safe. Mike provided free cell phones at no cost to taxpayers, to domestic violence survivors with restraining orders, programmed to call the police department. He supported science-based health curricula in the public-school system with age appropriate sex education. The high school’s Teen Connection Clinic provided contraceptive counseling, prescriptions and condoms. During Mike’s tenure, the High School Mediation Program was established. Staffers provided counseling and led a dating violence support group.

For Mike, women’s rights are human rights, at home and abroad.

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