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!!!!