Presidential race

Where 2016 candidate Carly Fiorina stands on 3 key women’s issues

REUTERS/Jim Young

On Monday, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for the 2016 presidential election via social media and during an appearance on Good Morning America.

Fiorina’s announcement makes her the GOP’s first female candidate to jump into the 2016 race, but where does she stand on key women’s issues? Here are three:

1. Gender pay gap:

At a news conference in 1995 after Fiorina took the top job at HP, she said, “I hope that we are at a point that everyone has figured out that there is not a glass ceiling.” A decade later in her memoir Tough Choices, she elaborated on the comment, which sparked outrage when she made it. “I was trying to tell women that although there are plenty of obstacles and prejudices, there isn’t some invisible barrier that prevents them from achieving their dreams,” Fiorina wrote in her 2006 book. Today, Fiorina blames the gender pay gap on “unions, government bureaucracies, the very constituencies that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party represent and which support them,” according to a post on her Facebook page. And in that same post she asserts that she is “committed to equal work for equal pay.” Late last month, her campaign co-chair, New Hampshire State Representative, Will Infantine found himself in hot water after he said that women earn less than men because men “don’t mind doing more work.” In addition, Fiorina has vocally opposed raising the minimum wage, claiming that doing so would hurt people who are looking for entry-level jobs.

2. Reproductive rights:

Fiorina has said that she is “a proud, pro-life conservative.” Her personal reasons include her mother-in-law’s decision to take her pregnancy full term and deliver her son (Fiorina’s husband) — despite having been advised to have an abortion. She has also cited her own experiences accompanying her best friend to an abortion clinic. Although Fiorina wants to restrict access to abortions, she does believe that exceptions should be made in the cases of rape, incest, and when pregnancy complications are threatening the mother’s life. When it comes to birth control, Fiorina believes that employers should be able to deny health insurance coverage for contraception. “We are not waging a war on women simply because we believe there is no good reason for birth control to be free,” she said at last year’s CPAC. 

3. LGBT rights:

In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Fiorina shared her conservative views on same-sex marriage. “I think government cannot provide benefits in a discriminatory fashion,” she said. “But marriage is a religious institution. Only a man and a woman can create life which is a gift that comes from God, and I think it is important for us to respect and protect those who hold that view.” That stance would represent a change from her position on the issue during her Senate bid five years ago. In 2010, during a California Senate debate with Barbara Boxer, Fiorina said, “I support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The Defense of Marriage Act had broad bipartisan support. And actually, the position I’ve consistently espoused is consistent with that of our president and a vast majority of senators in the U.S. Senate.”

4. Miscellaneous:

Fiorina has long been involved with economic empowerment for women in poverty; she used to run the One Woman initiative. One Woman rolled into Opportunity International, for which she was the Global Chair until she announced her presidential campaign on May 4. Opportunity International allows people to donate money specifically to support and empower women entrepreneurs. According to the organization’s website, more than 3,700 female entrepreneurs have been supported with the help of more than $550,000 in donations. She also currently serves as the chair of the American Conservative Union Foundation and Good360, a large product philanthropy organization.

Correction: A previous version of this article described One Woman as still being a single entity.

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