What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Interesting Conversation On Women's Parity

Cynthia Ruccia

File:Kay Bailey Hutchison, official photo 2.jpg                    A portrait shot of a smiling, middle-aged Caucasian female (Kirsten Gillibrand) looking straight ahead. She has long blonde hair, and is wearing a dark blazer with a grey top; on her left lapel is a gold pin that reads "United States Senator". She is placed in front of a dark background.

Last Monday, August 20, I watched a show that I had eagerly awaited on MSNBC. It was at noon eastern, and it had been billed to be a show focusing on why women aren't running anything in the U.S. Well, as you know, that is my subject, and I was pleased to see that this topic had filtered its way up to this larger-sized platform.

Now I know that many of us cringe at the thought of MSNBC, the station that many of us feel took the most liberties in being so sexist towards both Hillary Clinton and then Sarah Palin in 2008. I felt/feel that way too. Some of you know that I've turned into a jock in my old age. I work out alot and do triathlons, 5K races, and a few half-marathons. Why I even just qualified a couple of weeks ago to compete in the National Senior Olympics finals next summer in triathlon!! Woo hoo!! I bring it up because I roll out of bed in the morning and onto my elliptical machine to warm up. And nine times out of ten I tune in to MSNBC because that coverage pisses me off so much that it gets my adrenaline going and I'm warmed up in no time. And that is how I am able to tolerate the coverage there.

So I had been looking forward to seeing this show. After all, since the absolute catastrophe that was the election of 2008 for women, we Hillary supporters who took a stand against the sexism noticed that women weren't running hardly anything. We researched and found statistics that showed us that things were even worse than what we thought. For the bazillionth time, the U.S. ranks #79 now in the world in female representation in government behind Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and other countries you wouldn't expect. Only 16.8% of our Congress is female, 12% of our governors are female, 8% of the mayors of our 100 largest cities are female, women still make 77 cents on the man's dollar, a figure that has stayed steady for almost 50 years, 2.8% of our Fortune 500 companies have female CEO's, and there are FOUR states that have never had a female member of Congress: Delaware, Iowa, Vermont, and Mississippi.

As we discovered these very ugly numbers, we started talking about them every chance we had. No one could even believe us. We even took alot of flack and blowback for repeating such statistics. It confused people whose entire frame of women's rights had been reproductive issues.

But speak we did. On the internet, on TV, in the newspapers, on our blogs, in live talks, anywhere people would listen even if they didn't want to. We talked. Ordinary folks like me. and finally after a few years, voila!!! We started hearing others with bigger platforms than we had recite our numbers. Greta Van Susteren on Fox brought them up often. Then we had people like Kirsten Powers on the Daily Beast write about such things. And little by little our point took hold.

So I was excited to see that now MSNBC was going to take the topic on. I wasn't disappointed. The show started out (once the news headlines were done) with graphics showing OUR numbers!!!! The panel was Alex Wagner, the host, Joan Walsh (I  can hear your boos!!), Sally Quinn, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I'm going to post below a segment of the show and then you can go over to MSNBC and watch the rest.

On the segment below, you're going to see an astounding performance by the two Senators who are positive, upbeat, not partisan, supporting each other, and both giving heartfelt pleas to get more women elected because then, in the words of BOTH women, more important things for women can be addressed. Things like economic issues, jobs. Senator Gillibrand herself swatted away the suggestion from one of the panel members that the focus had to be on "women's health issues" by saying that if more women were in the Senate they would be able to focus on "things that really matter," like jobs, etc. IN HER OWN WORDS.

I just loved watching these two Senators and their whole approach. And to me the entire show summed up where women are today, August 2012, in terms of women. We women are splintered------every time the panel wanted to get into the weeds about how bad the Republicans are, the Senators pulled them back by talking about the number of elected officials, wht women aren't getting their voices heard, etc. It almost made naked the fact that the panel women were fighting the battle men want us to fight, the one about abortion, etc. And the actual women in the legislature weren't willing to fall into that trap. It's an example we can all learn from.

I have felt that the folks on the left will be the last to come around to another framing of the women's rights' agenda. They are still fighting the old agenda like junk yard dogs. And the MSNBC show showed the old versus the new pretty starkly. But at least they put the show on, and that is progress.

To those who haven't been on this blog before, I am proudly prochoice, and I realize that this is still an important issue. I am just trying to find some balance for us (H/T to freespirit at The Crawdad Hole who reminded me that I need to qualify my stance on abortion and why I am working toward broadening the agenda). We have given up the ENTIRE women's agenda to a discussion of reproductive rights and we have forgotten about the fact that women run nothing. I will let others fight the old battle. My fight is the one about female parity. Anyways, enjoy the show!!!!



  1. these are two of my favorite women.

  2. I have been on hiatus from politics. Just could not take any more... for a while. Anyways, decided to stick my tie back in to see what Romney/ Ryan had to say and was immediately lambasted by Akin.

    Sigh. I'm back to lurking. But, do know... I read what you send me.

    1. nice to hear from you Stray Yellar Dawg?!!! I understand. This fight gets wearying. Ah, Akin-----talk about a fly in the ointment. Ugh......

  3. Akin is NOT Paul Ryan or Romney? In fact, to respond to the above on Women's Parity and the commentary, the Romney-Ryan plan is different. Obama himself is not stating on the stump the correct facts--his references are not what was passed in the House nor the Romney plan that differs from the House plan. What was passed in the house is NOT the Romney plan on abortion and other issues. The Republican platform on abortion has not changed in years and there has NEVER been a candidate on either party that followed completely the party platform at the conventions. Obama is nowhere near the democratic platform formed at the '08 convention.

    The Romney plan can be found on his website so its best to remove oneself from the biased media as we came to understand working for Hillary. Akin is referring to Dr. Wilke who started this around 1985 indicating that the trauma prevents pregnancy. He is an idiot and not a scientist. Akin should go because most democrats and republicans believe him to be a poor candidate. Sarah Palin attempted to prevent him from winning the Republican primary but few would listen to her. Palin stated last night that she was right and is promoting a third party candidate to get him out. Akin is on his own and NOT representative of the Republican team. I know through my work for this ticket that Romney does not support a total anti-abortion stance that is non-inclusive of rape etc. As for Obamacare, I lived in London for a few years and could not get treatment when ill--I had to fly home because I was not sick enought. England has a more workable plan than Obamacare which is still developing as it goes.

    I am pro-life but not when it comes to rape and special circumstances. This is what you will see with the Republican Party and is why I have joined them to give the same effort to Romney that I did for Hillary. In fact, I would have to say that both Hillary and Bill will vote for the Republican ticket in that confined space of a voting booth. I am that sure! A good and stable economy is the beginning of supporting my women's activist and very independent nature. Conservative and Catholic woman are very much involved in activism for women but we get discounted because it usually boils down to whether or not one is Pro Choice or Pro Life--both views fit into believing in the rights of women.
    The media and ogranization like NOW (which lost thousands of members post Clinton campaign) make it a black or white statement!

  4. you tell it There is One More road To Cross. Thanks for the clarity. The truth is hard to find right now. It is totally wrong to tar the entire enterprise by the actions of a crazy man. But politics is politics and the Dems will do what they do----as will the Republicans when they get the chance. This too will pass. We need to keep our eye on the ball. And Akin is NOT it!!

  5. The only way we'll get to the point where women's issues aren't reduced to reproductive rights only is to run more women, elect more women. I see this as a two part process.

    The first is easy. Put pressure on the parties to run more women. Show us the women! The parties invite and encourage new candidates, invest in and cultivate existing candidates. They need to target more women.

    The second part is hard. We have to freaking vote for the women who run. Rather than coming up with any excuse not to vote for a woman and any excuse TO vote for a man, just vote for the woman. You can be assured no woman in either party would ever utter the words "legitimate rape" as all women know there's no such thing.

  6. human rights has to trumph everything Cynthia in good times and bad it is what this country was founded on.....

    women are not a minority ....and yet we find ourselves in a position to fight for our right to choose...

    human rights .....in this case womens rights cannot be usurped even in a bad economy

  7. "It almost made naked the fact that the panel women were fighting the battle men want us to fight, the one about abortion, etc. And the actual women in the legislature weren't willing to fall into that trap."

    Sadly that is why authentic women don't have a voice in Corporate Media. The way women in media get ahead is by sucking up to the men who hire and promote them. If they don't further the male bosses agenda there is a constant line of young women who will say and do whatever it takes to get ahead in media. Ratings on channels like MSNBC just keep going down but they don't care because they are able to extort a subsidy from everyone who signs up for cable. You were brave to watch this show I was at work when it was on but didn't bother to TIVO it as I figured it would be typical MSNBC BS. I'm very glad to hear the Dem and Rep Senators could work together and recognized there is a long list of women's issues.

    1. Well put Bes----it's just so sad. It occurred to me that a bipartisan group women senators getting along might not have enough bite to be a good story. That's where they'd be wrong. I think women would welcome this story. It has a certain comfort and a soothing quality.

      But I guess comity isn't sexy....

  8. I also agree with Greta's comment. One thing that irritates me is when women Governors or members of Congress are pulled form office to fill some obscure cabinet position. They are wrecking their women's farm team for President and VP by doing this. They could just as easily choose a retired woman politician. It is important that the few women who are elected to offices be allowed to serve their term and succeed so they can go on to hold higher office.

    1. you I think that the Republicans are better than the Democrats at developing their bench and that tendency is serving the up and coming republican women well. The Democrats tend to be more entrepreneurial in how they pick their talent. By that I mean that if someone comes bursting on the scene, they get booted right up to the top, sometimes over better qualified and seasoned veterans. Obama is the perfect example of that phenomenon, and even jimmy Carter fit that mold to some extent.