Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan Thursday to advance progress and stifle discrimination against women in the United States -- especially women of color and transgender females.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor said he plans to create a "gender and racially diverse Cabinet" and ensure at least half of all judicial nominations are women -- and cited the record number of women elected last year.
The plan, titled "Building Power: a Women's Agenda for the 21st Century," praises women-led movements in the United States that have ushered in a new era of awareness.
"Women are 51 percent of the U.S. population and nearly half the workforce," he wrote. "Their participation in the labor market over the past 50 years has sparked economic growth.
"But progress for women has come despite systemic, persistent sexism and racism that excludes women from economic, political, and social power."
The plan proposes closing the pay gap by requiring transparency and holding employers accountable for discrimination.
"And the pay gap only gets bigger as women advance in their careers," Buttigieg noted.
Buttigieg's plan would expand access to capital and fight discrimination by requiring lenders to disclose demographic information for loan applicants. He said he would also invest in female training for high-paying careers.
The candidate's plan also condemns workplace discrimination with a substantial investment -- $10 billion.
Buttigieg said his administration would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, double funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, endorse the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. On the issue of abortion, Buttgieg says it's a constitutional right that will be protected.
Other pledges include ensuring 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, a $15 federal minimum wage within five years and benefits for unpaid caregivers.
"Women's freedom can't depend on Washington; it can only come from systematically building women's power in our economy, our political system, and in every part of our society," the plan states.
"Oppression is not a setback to push through - - it's a system to be torn down," he wrote in an op-ed Thursday. "Racist and sexist policies were put in place intentionally -- often the result of policies enacted within living memory -- and we must be equally intentional about dismantling them."