By: Amanda Fox
“House Republicans have voted repeatedly for legislation that would be harmful to women’s health and women’s rights. I have worked for decades to promote equality for women, but the bipartisan support for women’s programs that used to exist in Congress has been shattered by tea party extremism. The Republican-controlled House has become the most anti-women House in modern history.” – Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman Sept. 3, 2012
There you have it in a nutshell. This is the most anti-women House in modern history. The problem, beyond the obvious, is there are too many people that don’t believe it. A bigger problem is the people that do believe it, or find it plausible at the very least, but choose to ignore it. They may yell that jobs are the issue. We’ve been told “It’s all about the economy”. It’s about keeping pace with China. It’s about closing the energy gap. It’s about keeping the Internet free. If you listen to enough voices you’ll hear the upcoming election is about almost anything you can imagine aside from women.
Here is the plain and simple truth – and not just because this is coming from a woman writing for a site that is primarily feminist in nature. It all comes back to women. You can’t avoid it coming back to women. We’ve run articles detailing how women have not only closed the education gap, they have overtaken the lead. More and more women are becoming the primary breadwinner in families while still earning 22% less than men doing the same job. And yes, reproductive rights do play a role in the lives of men as well which we’ll discuss later. You want a stronger economy and more jobs – you treat women right! Women can spur economic growth which creates jobs – but they cannot do it under unreasonable constraints.
The education gap is real. By the end of this decade it is estimated there will be three women in college for each man in college. Women are moving into the tech sectors at a slowly increasing rate. Fields dominated by men for years are filling with more and more women. Women are starting to fill more executive positions. This is not a trend that will automatically reverse itself without men attaining the same set of skills at a comparable level. The bottom line is that too many young men coasted too long eschewing a higher education and the worm has turned. We cannot deny that an education does matter and women have been pursuing that with vigor the last 30 years.
What about jobs? Women owned non-farm businesses have been growing at better than 20% over the last decade. These aren’t the old standard Tupperware part-time businesses either – these are six figure plus earning businesses providing jobs. Women owned businesses are growing at a rate of 2:1 against male owned businesses. Again, the bottom line is women are making more and more decisions not only about what businesses are being created with the backing of their own capital and sweat equity, they are deciding who gets the jobs they have to offer.
Wage equality. Women, on average, earn 22% less than men for the same job all things considered equal. This is a number that can’t be argued. Women have never sufficiently closed the wage gap despite legislation, and the GOP is filled with old boys looking to do away with the legislation that even keeps the gap where it is now. How does that not impact the economy?
Reproductive rights do impact men. Let’s not play stupid games about screaming things like “keep your legs closed if you don’t want a baby” or “pay for your own birth control” games. The bottom line is men like sex as much as women do. Sex, whether casual or in a relationship is not going to stop just because ready access to birth control or abortive rights have been restricted. If anything, studies definitively show that when said things are denied to women the birth rate and rate of STDs goes up almost immediately. We’ve seen it right here at Home in Texas in just the last year.
How does that impact a man? A one night stand where a condom breaks can lead to 18 years of child support hanging over their head. Something they may not be prepared for emotionally or financially. Women have become the primary provider of birth control in all forms the last 30 years – just look at how many women buy condoms just in case a man forgets them or because they have a personal preference for a specific type of condom. There’s a reason you see condoms marketed to women as much as men now.
Well… what happens if women have decreased access to them and you decide to ride it raw and oops!!! You have an STD now. That would really suck. But hey, no problem, a visit to the doctor and a pills or creams each month when that sore appears are available and you can pay out of pocket for all of them you want – after doing the sexual partner list and having everyone you slept with contacted to go get checked out. I guess that’s one way to help cut down on your sex life.
And let us not forget the other impact of this no one talks about – women that are not working while pregnant or for a highly variable rate of time after having a child. Ahh yes… we’ve heard the argument that men who are out of work will step in and take those jobs over and the world will continue turning. Not so fast. We’ve already demonstrated that men are in general not attaining the skills and education to qualify for many jobs women now hold and many men still hold the antiquated notion of “pink and blue jobs” and refuse to cross that line.
Let’s not mince words here – unplanned pregnancies cost money. A couple with a surprise child still has a host of medical bills to pay including pre-natal care as well as at least 18 years of care for a a child. Yes, putting children up for adoption is an option, but we already have literally a few hundred thousand kids awaiting a home and the number is continuing to grow. An option – yes. A good one – no. The system is woefully broken and it just means more tax dollars to support them all – so you’re still paying for it to a degree anyway.
These are not the days of June and Ward Cleaver where women stayed at home and raised children and baked pies all day. Women are a major part of the workforce and are shaping and driving the future of commerce. The new business statistics bear that out. Women are no longer as ignorant to the world outside of the home as they were some 60 years ago and many women are finding they would rather have a career than a man by their side – and even then the women with higher education levels and more advanced careers are getting far pickier about who they will not date, but consider as a suitable life partner.
Men, please realize – the election does come back to women over and over again. You want jobs that build the economy? Women are more and more responsible for creating them. You want to continue being able to have sex on a regular basis – protect reproductive rights. Women may love sex as much as men and they will get it – but maybe not with you or maybe at the risk of the above mentioned issues. You want to reach the levels of the Romney defined middle class – the odds are you’ll need the income a woman provides coming into your household to do it.
Let’s get very simple – answer these questions honestly:
1. In your heart of hearts – do you want women to continue to be able to control their reproductive rights – ie; have ready access to affordable birth control, STD screenings and yes, even abortion just in case you have an unplanned pregnancy you aren’t prepared for?
2. Do you want your wife who may be working the same job at the same company as your neighbor Harry bringing home 22% less each paycheck? Let’s say Harry makes $100k – do you think it’s fair your wife is getting only $78k?
3. If women continue to create businesses and jobs at even half the rate they are now, do you really want to tick them off? Seriously? Do you want to live and try to work in a country where an aura of anti-male sentiment is being fostered due to the discrimination women have endured at the hands of our politicians? You think a woman gets pissed off about the toilet being left up, try telling her what she can and cannot do with her body and see how ugly it gets. Women, like men, are fully capable of holding a grudge.
We are not anti-men. We are anti-discrimination. We do not think all men are evil and plotting against us – some of our strongest allies in politics, our daily lives and right here on Spicie itself are men. They are men that get that if we want to move forward as a nation we cannot do it by not just holding back women, but knocking them three steps back. The nation grows when all of it’s parts are working in harmony as one – and that includes women. Legislation that hinders women from earning equal pay and aims to keep them pregnant and in the kitchen or paying every dime they have to childcare just so they can keep working for less is not working in harmony.
So yes, the election is about women. Women on the job. Women creating businesses that employ other women AND men. Women doing their part to support the household, and yes, women having ready access to the ability to control when their family grows and by how much if at all.
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