Are 'Women's Issues' Necessary?

What is it that sets women and their 'issues' aside?

Civitas writer, Becki Gray thinks that “Women’s ‘Advocates’ are holding women back.” She has written about this in NC SPIN, October 4, 2014. Ms. Gray seems to think misogyny is over just as the Supreme Court thinks racism is over. Both are mistaken.

Making women’s rights an article of law is not ‘nanny care,’ it is a fitting and proper act of government, whose duty it is to protect all citizens. Women’s rights are just like everyone else’s rights, but not every person wants to admit that, let alone support it and live by it. If even she admits she had to ‘work hard to be seen and treated as an equal,’ than something is wrong with our society’s outlook on women. It wasn’t ‘women’s advocates’ she needed to persuade of her equality.

We do not need her to tell us that ‘Menopause, cervical and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and pregnancy care are also women’s health issues.’ Every time a
GOP-brokered law limits access to Planned Parenthood clinics, women speak to that issue. And are ignored. If she truly believes that ‘Ensuring a safe, clean, medically appropriate environment for a medical procedure is everybody’s issue’ she should discourage bills that close women’s clinics. And, yes, abortion is not just a woman’s issue, but too often the people who make it the woman’s issue are men--frequently the father of the child.

Every year American companies hold an open enrollment period for employees to sign up for health care coverage. Some companies offer 2-5, or more, choices of plans. Choosing between them is difficult--no brochure ever contains all the details of the actual contracted plan. Language is obscure to the layman, and it is difficult to decide which one is best. Families have busy lives, lots of demands on their time, and little energy to give to getting down and dirty with the details.

I have known people who practically flip a coin to make their choice. How can the average American, even though pretty smart, decide between 1500 or 3000 plans? How will they find time to assess hundreds of plans? How will they know if a plan based in Iowa will actually pay North Carolina caregivers promptly? Or if it will decide suddenly that the North Carolina market isn’t big enough to cover their administrative costs and so cancel all policies?

People do want to take personal responsibility, but getting the real info they need to do so is incredibly difficult. When I had surgery a few years ago, I told the hospital I wanted to know the costs ahead of time. Their response? They could not tell me. It all depended upon what deal my insurance company had made with the hospital and I was not allowed to be privy to that. I also asked for an itemized bill but never received one. Insurers and hospitals actually put impediments in the way of patients getting such info.

Contraception and abortion rights ARE economic issues. Especially for women. Pregnancy and childbirth are expensive. Salary stagnation has made it necessary for a household to have two incomes. A woman constantly losing income to childbirth impacts a family’s economic health and economic future. And if an insurance company covers Viagra there is no excuse for them not covering birth control, of every kind. Viagra does result in pregnancy, you know. Over the counter birth control pills? Does she want women, who already make less money than men, to be out of pocket even more than before?

And yes, women do care about ‘transportation, national security, the environment, the economy, and immigration.’ But it is the GOP that continually blocks any attempts to regulate banks, properly clean up coal ash spills, create immigration reform, build light rail in the Triangle, and other issues. Regulations are for the common good, something we have stopped talking about, and businesses simply need to accept that they, too, have to sacrifice for the common good. Since corporations are now people, we have to presume they also need clean air, drinkable water, and healthy food to stay alive, and they should also help pay the costs for these.

Domestic violence does not just impact women; men can be abused, too. But the vast majority of those abused are women--that is why it’s considered a woman’s issue, a woman’s economic issue. Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

*Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
*Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
*Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
*Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
*Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
*The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

And it will continue to be a woman’s issue as long as persons who call themselves Christian ministers continue to claim women are to be submissive and do as they are told. We have institutions that want women to be put in their place.

Equal pay is NOT a result of education--many women with the same education background as a man are paid less for doing the same work. To say that a woman and a man, each starting the same job should not be paid the same starting salary is to misconstrue the situation. This is not a request for an entitlement it is a request for equality. And equality is the American Way.

The word ‘woman’ is not mentioned in our Constitution, or our Bill of Rights. Nowhere in our founding documents is it written that All Men And Women Are Created Free And Equal. We women may hold public office, become educated, work, own property, or have a business. But most of these ‘rights’ had to be fought for--these opportunities did not just happen. Women will never be truly equal before the law until the word ‘woman’ is added to our Constitution.

Are women a voting bloc? No. Absolutely not. This was discussed during passage of the 19th amendment when men thought women would vote at the behest of their husbands. Didn’t happen then, doesn’t happen now. Women vote their own issues, not their husband’s. But calling something a woman’s issue doesn’t ‘set us aside.’ Those who set us aside are those who repeatedly ignore our issues. Those who set us aside are Republicans.

Link to Ms. Gray's NCSPIN piece.



GOP wants to hide the War on Women

When all the things in life that disproportionally affect women are bundled together, it is easy to see that there really is a War on Women. When those same things are taken apart, and effectively hidden amongst a host of over-arching issues, they are easily lost. And forgotten.

Gray's argument is the GOP attempt to diffuse the criticism of the War on Women and, as usual, they have chosen a woman to put forth the agreed upon response. Somehow, they still believe that if a woman delivers a message about women, that all other women will take that message at face value. In and of itself, that is another strike against them in the War on Women. They still think woman are so stupid and easy to manipulate that they won't take the time to dissect their arguments.