Two out of three of the debates this campaign season were moderated by women. I commend the Commissions for allowing this and encouraging it. With that being said, we can’t forget everything about a Presidential race is strategic and in a year where the women’s vote is so valuable and looked upon, I can’t say I’m too impressed that they “chose” women to moderate.
It certainly does not mean that we are, as a society, ready to accept women. Governor Romney demonstrated that perfectly in his offensive and extremely ignorant answer to the question posed about equal pay for equal work. Women make $.72 to the dollar compared to men. It’s a struggle our nation has faced for far too many years. We have done a terrible job talking about this issue holistically and we fail to get to the root of the problem. That’s the norm here in the U.S. But Romney went far beyond our failures to address this issue appropriately but essentially telling us women how to let the men help us in their world. He boasted about he brought women onto his cabinet. He tried to argue that a strong economy would give us women that opportunity. And to get to that “strong economy,” men are gonna help us.
Are you… wait, you’re for real Governor? You think answering a question about women’s rights by talking about how strong men who already have that opportunity are going to pave the way for women is appropriate? You basically said we need the men to make the economy strong so then there’s a place for women. Um no, regardless of the economy — recession or economic boom — women should be treated equal by employment policies and protections. On the principal of equality not on the principles of economy and your entitlement, Governor Romney. President Clinton helped us grow a strong economy. Women were still not equal.
Women hit the glass ceiling because no woman can be CEO of a company with the expectation of growing a successful company and also raise a family. It’s really hard to keep a company running when your CEO is on maternity leave. That’s just a reality. So women are being forced to choose between their career goals and their desire to have children and raise a family. Men do not have to face this choice. They can be a father and go to work every day to maintain and grow their company if they are CEO. A board looking to hire is going to see maternity leave when looking at a woman’s resume and commitment Let’s consider if contraception coverage was in the hands of the employer. Now let’s take a company that is primarily run by men but with women who are trying to move up. Of course they are not going to cover contraception because that makes the women more competitive.
Women need healthcare protections and family planning protections in order to achieve their career goals. Reducing these protections only strengthens that glass ceiling. President Obama did an excellent job of pointing out these very critical factors that reinforce the inequality in the workforce.
Governor Romney’s answer to this question highlights one of my greatest frustration with this Presidential race — and all political rhetoric, really. We always focus on economic issues. Immigration, oil, education, etc. all come down to growing our economy. Yes, that is true and indisputable. But what I cannot stand is when a social issue is put on the table — rarely, at that — the conversation quickly goes to the economy. Equality has nothing to do with the economy. It’s a human rights issue and a social justice issue. It is terrifying that the political discourse can not begin to address it as such. It is dangerous for my future. It is dangerous for humanity and it goes against values that the Untied States has been and should continue to be grounded in.
More women are graduating from college. There are more women in this country. These are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers. Every one has a woman in their life that they love unconditionally. It boggles my mind how that connection across our nation gets so broken down by rhetoric, numbers, and politics to reduce us down to helping men grow the economy. I will not stand for it. I will use my right to vote that women fought for almost a century ago to maintain my rights. I hope you fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, uncles, and grandfathers vote for rights in addition to the bottom line.