Governor Cuomo, in one of his first official acts, created the Division for
Women. The Division -- the only cabinet-level office for women in the nation --
acts as an advocate for women's issues and advises the Governor on all policies
affecting women's lives.
Governor Cuomo has appointed more women to high-level posts than any Governor
in history, including three of his top five most senior advisers. He made
history by naming the first two women to the state's Court of Appeals,
including the first woman Chief Judge, Judith Kaye. Associate Judge Carmen
Ciparick, named to the court last year, was also the first Latino appointed to
the high court in state history.
During his first year in office, the Governor created the Office for Minority
and Women Owned Business Development to help women-owned businesses take
advantage of the state's economic development programs. Governor Cuomo also
directed all state agencies to intensify efforts to increase the number of
women and minority businesses that are awarded contracts.
Under Governor Cuomo, the state has upheld the right of women to reproductive
choice, including Medicaid funding to ensure that the rights of poor women are
New York has been a leader in creating and expanding health care programs for women. Governor Cuomo has
expanded pre-natal care programs to cover thousands of working poor women,
providing treatment necessary for healthier women and babies.
The Governor has waged a major effort to combat breast cancer, creating the
Breast Cancer Detection and Education program in 12 high-risk communities
around the state. The program has already screened 40,000 women. The state has
secured a $3.2 million federal grant that, coupled with an additional $2.5
million in state funds, will extend screening to another 30,000 women. Breast
Health Partnerships, the nation's first statewide community based network for
prevention and early treatment, have also been established.
Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover an
annual mammogram for those women over 49, who have a family history of breast
cancer, and whose doctors recommend it. The Governor also created the Breast
Health Partnership program to form community groups that help women obtain the
services they need.
The Governor created the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The
office has trained thousands of law enforcement personnel and health
professionals on how to handle incidents of domestic violence and be sensitive
to the needs of victims of abuse. The office also conducts community outreach
and domestic violence education programs.
The Rape and Sexual Assault Task Force, created by the Governor in 1989, has
provided assistance to rape victims by increasing funding for rape crisis
programs, and ensuring that communication between victims and counselors are
confidential. Governor Cuomo established the state's tough
policy barring sexual harassment in the workplace in his first year in office.
His executive order required all state agencies to implement reporting systems
to assist victims and required training programs for all employees to prevent
Under Governor Cuomo, New York became the first state to have a comprehensive
automated system for tracking and collecting child support payments, providing
over three times as many children with support from their absent parents.
During the Cuomo administration, New York State's available child care slots
more than doubled, regulatory systems have been upgraded and streamlined, and
$23 million in start-up grants have been awarded to 700 programs across the
state to expand the supply of quality child care.
In 1983, the Governor issued a policy directive barring the state from
conducting business at any private establishment which discriminates on the
basis of gender, age, race, creed, color, national origin, disability or marital status.
Governor Cuomo's commitment to children and families has been highlighted by
his "Decade of the Child" Agenda which will have earmarked some $8 billion on
services that protect and assist children and their families by the end of the
The New York State Department of Labor's Displaced Homemaker Program is the
largest resource of its kind in the nation. Under the Governor's leadership,
the program has served more than 106,000 women who have been away from the paid
labor force while caring for their families, but have
lost financial support through the death, divorce, or disability of the family
breadwinner, have gained economic self sufficiency through the Displaced
Homemaker Program. Since the program's inception, the 24 centers throughout the
state provide the following: individual and group vocational counseling; job
placement; educational and skills training, health
education and counseling; and, financial and legal information at an average
cost of under $400 per individual served.