Column: Celebrating Women’s History Month

In August, the City Council, which is represented by a majority of women, we passed an 11-bill legislative package to address the persistent disparities in the city’s health care system.
Photo courtesy Courtney Curd

The New York City Council achieved a historic victory in 2021 when women across the city won 31 of the 51 council seats. The current council is the first ever to be led by a female-majority and that majority was able to elect the first Black Speaker, Adrienne Adams. In this council, we have paved the way for legislation and policy that is moving the mark on many fronts, bettering the lives of women through equitable health care access and fair wages and contracts.

When women lead we lead with community on our shoulders. Many of the women in the City Council have personally experienced how our health care system fails women, and women of color in particular. That is why last August, we passed an 11-bill legislative package to address the persistent disparities in our health care system and ensure that we continue to educate our city about the options available to them.

What does this mean for you? As your councilmember and the co-chair of the Women’s Caucus, I worked with my colleagues to ensure that the Bronx has free mammograms services available at the Stevenson Family Health Center and more. This is the kind of proactive work that gets done when there are a representative amount of women in leadership.

The majority of our city’s residents, women, are underpaid and undervalued while simultaneously acting as the glue that holds our communities and our households together. Our essential workforce became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, and during that time the New York Times reported that 1 in 3 jobs held by women were designated as essential. Women are overwhelmingly serving in essential positions, yet our essential needs are not met. We see this pay disparity continue throughout our sectors.

Just recently our nurses — a workforce predominantly made up of women of color — in the private sector fought for a fair contract. Now our public sector nurses have the same fight for fair wages ahead of them, but it is even steeper since public sector nurses make far less than the private sector.

That is why I am fighting for fair wages and contracts for health care workers like our nurses. We need equal pay for equal work in all our industries, and I have been out at picket lines demanding our nurses both public and private get a fair contract. We need our health care workers in the places where they are best serving our families.

Serving as the co-chair of the largest Women’s Caucus in the history of the New York City Council is extremely meaningful to me. I am proud of all the work we have done so far, but we still have more work to do. New York City is a majority-female city and it only makes sense that our city is also represented by a majority-female council. And as we enter this upcoming month I want to celebrate with you!

March 1 is the start of Women’s History Month. The New York City Council is hosting a celebration at City Hall co-hosted by Speaker Adams and the Women’s Caucus. This event will celebrate women citywide who continue to make history in their communities as well as honoring the wins of the council. There will be a program of performers and honorees, giveaways, art and more. If you are interested in joining this event, please call my office at (718) 792-1140 for more information.

District 18 is also going to host SpeakerAdams’ State of the City this year! This will be the first time that a citywide leader has ever held their State of the City in our district and I could not be more excited to welcome her and leaders from around NYC to our community.

Amanda Farías is the councilmember who represents City Council District 18.

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