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Response to a Questionnaire on Women's Issues Published "Women Today"

March 15, 1976

Q. Do you support the Equal Rights Amendment to the US. Constitution? If no, please give reasons. If yes, what plans do you have to actively demonstrate your support for the ERA, particularly when campaigning in those 16 stales which have not yet ratified the amendment?

Governor Carter. I strongly support the Equal Rights Amendment. I campaigned for 262 days last year and in every state, including those states which have not yet ratified the amendment, I have consistently and unhesitatingly advocated passage of the amendment. As Governor of Georgia, I fought hard for the passage of ERA. But in the South, the textile industry and the John Birch Society have been strong and effective opponents in discouraging ratification of the amendment. In my own Presidential campaign, my beliefs in equal rights are evident. Women are fully involved .... I believe that the Democratic Party must make an effort to see that the amendment is passed. As a candidate, I will insist that the ERA be made part of the Democratic Party's national plank. As President, I will use the influence of the office both to see that the amendment becomes law, and to set a style of leadership that clearly and unmistakingly makes equal rights and equal opportunity national goals.

Q. What are your views on federally supported national day care services and centers in regard to the following: (a) providing day care services to any working parent, (&) funding day care facilities and services, and (c) implementing your day care policy?

Governor Carter. One of the most far-reaching social and economic changes of recent years has been the very rapid increase in the employment of women, particularly mothers of young children. Women work because, like men, they need the money. Today, nearly two out of every five mothers of pre-school children bring home a paycheck. I believe that federal aid is desirable to help the states and localities fund necessary day care services. The need for these services is growing rapidly; 6/2 million children under the age of 6 have gainfully employed mothers—a. number which has increased 30 percent in the last 7 years. Many of their families cannot afford the full cost of day care which meets essential standards. I do not believe we are now able to extend the concept of public education entitlement to all children below the present school age level whose parents wish them to benefit from early childhood education. Because it is in the public interest that no child be neglected, I favor public subsidies for day care services for children with employed mothers in low-income families. For those families with incomes between low and moderate level, and able to meet part or most of the costs, subsidized fees should be scaled to ability to pay. I will, when elected, recommend legislation to implement my policy.

Q. Do you believe colleges and universities should be exempt from the affirmative action provisions of Executive Order 11246 and revision order No. 4? Please explain your stand.

Governor Carter. I do not believe that colleges and universities should be exempt from the affirmative action provisions of Executive Order 11246 and revision order No. 4. This order requires affirmative action plans of all contractors with contracts of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees. Enforcement of these plans should be strenuously handled by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to end sex discrimination in our educational institutions, as well as in other agencies. Since sexual discrimination in higher education was not legally prohibited until the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, I feel that colleges and universities.as employers may actually need the impetus of affirmative action. There is another aspect to this question. According to a 1975 Civil Rights Commission report, "Although DHEW awarded numerous contracts for the evaluation of programs affecting women in 1972, only 5 percent of the total contracting funds were identified as having been awarded to women-owned firms." I see this as a major concern for women since discriminatory practices have historically limited women's participation in business. As President, I would see that federal contractors hire women without bias, and that OFCCP, in its review of contracts, treats the problem of sexual discrimination against women business owners with honest concern.

Q. Do you approve of exempting physical education and revenueproducing sports from the Title IX regulations of the Education Amendments of 1972? Please explain your stand.

Governor Carter. I do not approve of exempting physical education from the Title IX regulations of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX has broken down many barriers to women in institutions of higher learning and will over time be one of the most effective tools to end sexually discriminatory attitudes. If physical education were excluded from the regulations of Title IX, discrimination against women in this segment of their education might continue. I have always felt that physical health is vital to mental health, and excluding women from equal opportunities to participate in all types of sports would be unfair. I would like to see my 8-year-old daughter, Amy, be able to excel in any sport she might choose, just as my sons have been able to do. I would oppose any legislation that would weaken the provisions of Title IX. I am still studying the issue of revenue-producing sports and will be analyzing that issue on a continuing basis so that I can comment later.

Q. Do you believe changes are necessary to make the current Social Security system more equitable to men and women? What changes would you sponsor and support?

Governor Carter. I believe that changes are necessary indeed to make the current Social Security system more equitable for women and men. The payroll tax that finances Social Security takes a larger slice out of the income of the low-income worker in relation to his or her ability to pay. Anyone earning over $50 a quarter pays 5.8 percent to Social Security. Since women are clustered at the bottom of the economic ladder, and since there is still a 60 percent differential between the salaries of men and women for the same work, this has an adverse affect on women. I am presently studying one proposal that has been advanced which would assure every adult his or her own Social Security record. The record would be built up and maintained throughout his or her working life. This proposal aims to eliminate the inequity faced by working wives who do not receive benefits for having contributed to the Social Security system, a goal with which I am certainly in accord. I believe that eventually the Social Security system must be less regressive so that the highly paid contribute more to the system. This would help equalize the system for women.

Q. What changes, if any, do you think are necessary in the income tax structure to make it more equitable for unmarried and married persons?

Governor Carter. I would strongly recommend that consideration be given to the introduction of an income tax credit for families with two wage earners and to single persons who have family responsibilities. These revisions would make the present income tax structures more equitable for married and unmarried persons.

Q. What is your opinion of the Displaced Homemaker's Act pending in the House and Senate? Would you vote for it, if given the opportunity?

Governor Carter. I am firmly committed to equal opportunities for women and men in all aspects of life. The "Displaced Homemaker's Act" would help end discrimination against a segment of our national work force that makes valuable contributions to the welfare and economic stability of the nation. I have great concern for the woman who chooses to stay home and devote full time to caring for her family. She is one of the most vulnerable members of our society. Faced with a seriously high divorce rate and the prospect of widowhood at age 55, the homemaker without a marketable skill could have a difficult time, and legal protection for her is almost nonexistent. This bill would establish nationwide model program centers to provide legal counseling and services for individuals who have worked in the home for a substantial number of years and are having difficulty in finding employment. Therefore, I see the passage of the "Displaced Homemaker's Act" as valuable in meeting two of our national goals. First in our priority to provide jobs for every American who wants to work; and secondly, in our national effort to end discrimination against women.

Q. What is your position on making available more part-time federal civil service jobs and establishing a more flexible work-scheduling program?

Governor Carter. I strongly encourage the availability of more part-time jobs in our economy. I would support legislation which would increase part-time employment, especially that legislation which is intended to benefit housewives and retirees. As a further aid to working women, I support the concept of a more flexible work-scheduling program. A woman who is forced for economic reasons to seek employment outside the home, or a woman who is able to combine her career interests with a family, deserves support from her government.

Q. Do you support or oppose efforts to revise the Supreme Courts decision granting women the right to elective abortions? (Answer in terms of age limitations; parental consent requirements, and husband or guardian consent requirements; and length of time after which a pregnancy cannot be terminated.)

Governor Carter. I have consistently stated that I oppose constitutional amendments to overturn the Supreme Court's decision. I believe that abortion is die doctor's treatment for failed birth control, and that in the long run the need for abortion services can be minimized by providing better family planning services. This means stronger family planning programs, more accessible services, and improved contraceptive technology. I have always believed in preventive health care, and this question is no different. Although we have 150 counties in Georgia, it became one of the few states in the nation with family planning clinics operating in every county health department under my administration. Participation in the family planning programs increased by 200 percent just during the first 2 years of my administration. The Supreme Court left many questions unresolved including parental or spousal consent, and the problem of late abortions. Those questions are being litigated in the courts. As President, I would be guided and bound by the courts' decisions on these and other questions pertaining to abortion services.

Q. (a) Do you believe in continuing to allot federal funds for welfare recipients seeking pregnancy termination? Please state your reasons, (b) Do you believe that private hospitals which do not permit doctors to perform elective abortions should be allowed to continue receiving government funds?

Governor Carter. I do not like the idea of government money being spent on abortions, and I do not think government should do anything to encourage abortions. But I am aware that the courts have been requiring Medicaid, for example, to pay for this service. I would like to see us as a nation reach the stage where no one who is poor is ever forced to obtain an abortion because she could not obtain proper family planning. On this question, and the question of private hospitals, I will be guided and bound by the courts.

Q. Would you support an amendment to the Constitution protecting the rights of the unborn?

Governor Carter. No.

Jimmy Carter, Response to a Questionnaire on Women's Issues Published "Women Today" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347579

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