Last week the Republicans defeated an attempt to ensure equal pay for equal work for women, but that was only some of the bad news for American women. It seems pretty clear that women are losing the Conservative led “war on women” culturally and economically.
Census statistics indicate that the rapid gains of women in wages in the ’90s has stalled, and even begun to reverse. Now that Republicans have signaled that wage discrimination will be protected while they control Congress, the trend to reverse wage gains will most likely accelerate. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated it makes me to tell a woman that she has no case against an employer, not because she has not been discriminated against, but because her employer successfully hid the fact for so long.
Women constitute over half of college graduates with advanced degrees (53%), yet less than 40% of those finding employment after graduation. The idea that a college degree will increase employability does not apply to women in America. Women also form the bottom of the economic barrel, constituting over half of those employed at minimum wages and the majority of those in poverty (by far).
Women’s rights have been under attack by Conservatives for decades, but recently the role of women in society has also under attack. In most other countries of the world, including many Moslem Countries, women are represented in political leadership far more proportionally than in the U.S. For example, more women have been elected to political office in Afghanistan than in the U.S., proportionally.
Perhaps the most repugnant of Conservative’s attacks on women is their recent attempts to define their role as essentially “barefoot and pregnant.” Books by Conservative women published in the last year argue that women would be less likely to marry if they earned equal wages, and should attend college only to “marry well.” I kid you not!
This is not the society I want my daughter – or anyone’s daughter, to inherit. We need to become much more active in fighting the right wing attempts to set the Women’s Movement back.