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.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Not the Correct Women's Agenda

Cynthia Ruccia


Now that we've got the two major party tickets set for the presidential race, I guess it was just a matter of time that the fight for women's votes would resume. This is a fight I am relishing because I think that it has the potential of turning the "women's issue agenda" on its ear.

My friend K sent me this piece from Politico that clearly spells out the battle lines. The piece talks about how the Democrats will go after Paul Ryan as being radically anti-woman and all of the liberal suspects are quoted in the article about how Ryan hates women. The talk is all about the typical Democratic vagina monologues------how anti-choice Ryan is, how he hates Planned Parenthood, how he is going to ruin women's lives, blah blah blah. I have written extensively about these stances on the left and how it is viewed as the third rail of feminism, and I guess I'm going to have to update them.


To review, the entire framing of women's issues IMHO on the Democratic side is calcified. To those who haven't read my blog before, I am an INDEPENDENT, not Republican. The Republicans are put under the microscope here too. Anyways, the Democrats are all about women's issues being about the reproductive rights of women, a battle that has been fought and largely won by technology more than by government mandate. There was a day in my youth when these rights were fought over. It was a worthy battle and it was ongoing. I am prochoice and I am pleased with how things turned out. I realize that there must be some vigilance to retain these rights. But I am completely and utterly opposed to the entire debate STILL being about reproductive rights.

As long as we stay in this mode of women's rights being only reproductive rights, women will stay stalled. And women are COMPLETELY stalled. We still rank #70 or worse in female representation in government in the U.S., we still make 77 cents on the man's dollar. 2.8% of Fortune 1000 company CEO's are women, 12% of governors are female, we've never had a female president or VP. When will all of that change? How will all of that change?

For sure it won't change if our dialogue about women is going to be about women's reproductive issues and not about women's economic issues.  Why? Because women are completely divided and powerless (heard of "divide and conquer" anyone?) as long as reproductive issues are the sole frame of the women's agenda. And as long as women are brainwashed into thinking that that is their sole interest and can be scared against thinking otherwise, women will stay as stalled as they have been for the past 30 years or more.

I don't get why women don't smarten up about this. BUT, I really welcome this battle for women between the two tickets because the Romney/Ryan ticket has the potential to wipe this divide off the face of the earth.  Winning an election is as much about math as anything, and the R/R ticket needs to peel away some of the women's vote from the Dems. Not alot of it, but some of it, and I am expecting to see some expert blowback from the Republicans on the economic issues facing women.

I expect that fight to be as ugly as the current Medicare and mediscare fight we are engaged in. But the Republicans have a compelling case to make for the women's vote and I am hoping that they make it well and convincingly and break the chokehold the Democrats have on women. If the Republicans are successful, we can look forward to a whole new women's agenda breaking through, one that will complete the work of the 2nd wave of feminism when we were more united in wanting women to power share and for women to make the money men make. Women need to get their attention out of their uteruses and into their pocketbooks. Not only that, but we need to ADVANCE and start running more things in the U.S. We need to be able to truthfully tell future generations of girls that they really can be anything they want to be. We need to advance that thought out of fantasy and into reality.

On Monday at noon EDT, MSBC will be running a one-hour show on why women aren't running anything. From what I can tell, the panel looks to be tilted to the left, but for sure it is a great thing that these ideas are being explored. I'd love to see more of this talk everywhere, left and right. Greta VanSusteren talks about these things all of the time on her show on Fox, 10 p.m. nightly EDT. We must keep this drumbeat going.

I'd like to close with a terrific youtube of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress and the Congressional liason between the Romney campaign and Congress. In it she talks about the economic agenda for women, a great place to start. Sounds woman-friendly to me....

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/democratic-war-women-rodgers/2012/04/24/id/436881

19 comments:

  1. I saw that Politico article. They are going to go after Paul Ryan with guns blazing.

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  2. Cyunthia,
    Thank you, as always. for another excellent hard-hitting piece.
    I love your line that "women need to get their attention out of their uteruses...."
    Preach it, friend, preach it!

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    1. Hi Cindy---it never seems to end does it!! Thanks for your kind words as always.....

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  3. I sure love McMorris rodgers. Wish she'd been put on the ticket as VP.

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  4. Cynthia, I don't see it as ONLY about reproductive issues, but ALSO about reproductive issues. As long as a certain politicians keep trying to push back on reproductive rights, we'll never get to move on. What good is paying lower interest on capital gains if we are not in a position to realize any?

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    1. true enough, SophieCT. But the progress that needs to be made needs to side step reproductive rights for now IMO.A different agenda, just a different agenda, one that neither party speaks to. We women need to stop outsourcing our agenda.

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  5. Good piece, Cynthia.
    Every woman needs her own bank account. Then she really has a say.

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  6. What exactly is the compelling case RR and the pubs have to make to get the women vote? I'm not seeing it. From what i can tell, its regurgitation of republican talking points - nothing real much less compelling that specifically speaks to women.

    What both parties can do to appeal to women is to run women. Romney had his chance to do that and passed up on it. We know where his priorities lie. With the base. That's been his whole strategy during the primary and the Ryan picks shows us that's his general election strategy. We'd be fooling ourselves to expect anything different from an R admin or the republicans.

    A smart agenda is to stop making excuses for and legitimizing the talking points of both parties and don't give them our votes unless there is a woman on the ticket.

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    1. I'm as disappointed as you are that we don't have a woman on the ticket. However, it is refreshing to see that the R's ARE challenging the Democrats for women. I guess you have to live in a swing state to see how the R/R team is going after women because they are. And by putting Cathy McMorris Rodgers front and center with the message does give it credibility.

      In Ohio, on the front line of the war, I don't see any of the old Republican talking points in the uterine wars. None. What I see is a compelling argument to break the Democrat's assumed hegemony on women. And it is refreshing. And it is promising in terms of changing the whole conversation.....

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  7. Women need to get their attention out of their uteruses and into their pocketbooks.

    Could we see that roll call on S.3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act, again? Ah, here it is.

    (With a special call-out to Senators Ayotte, Collins, Hutchinson, Snowe, and of course the bill's original sponsor, Lisa Murkowski. Tell it, sisters!)

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    1. Oops, sorry -- Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), not Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). So the charge is not that Republican men coerced a Republican woman to vote against her own bill, but merely that the Senate's five Republican women voted, once again, against the first major legislative step toward women's pay equity since the Kennedy administration.

      Senator Murkowski has been courageously vocal, by the way, about the reproductive rights elephant in the room; it's only when women turn their attention to their pocketbooks that the narrative falters.

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    2. We just need to get more women elected on both sides of the aisle. I watched Kristen Gillibrand and Kay Bailey Hutchison speak at length today about how the entire conversation would change if there were 51% women in the Senate on both sides. There'd be no more talk of male coercion. Nice to see you back Joshua W. Burton!!

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    3. Fifteen GOP women against Lilly Ledbetter in the 111th Congress, but twenty-two against VAWA in the 112th.

      Oh, and Ledbetter v. Goodyear was decided in 2007 by eight men and one woman, the first Supreme Court in American history to have fewer women than the previous term. We now have two more women on the court, thank goodness, but Sen. Hutchinson voted against them both, after voting against the Ledbetter law. I learned this move from an old movie: Ginger leads, taking two steps backward and pivoting to the right. You remember how it goes? "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off -- start all over again."

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  8. That all may well be joshua, but as usual, the numbers don't tell the story. The story is about the fact that to me "pro-women" isn't about these bills. It is about women being represented in numbers proportionate to their numbers, i.e. around 51%. Until that happens, the rest is just a calcified way of doing business that doesn't help anyone.

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    1. OK, but if it's "not about" Ledbetter, PFA, VAWA (and SS and Medicare, as long as women live longer than men -- and SCHIP and TANF, as long as single parents are mostly women -- and yes, even the global gag rule, as long as millions of women are dying abroad of preventable causes), then why not get out from under the halo of all those unavoidably partisan issues, pocketbook as well as uterus?

      The case you are trying to make is that female representation (in the executive and legislative branches and in the boardroom; I'm still scratching my head about why you don't care about our courts) is an intrinsic good: that when Sen. Hutchinson replaced Lloyd Bentsen she advanced your idea of women's rights even though she would spend the next twenty years fighting against equal pay for women. That's fine -- it's an interesting view, and you have made me think hard about it by expressing it so ably. But you can't have it both ways, and claim (against substantial evidence!) that GOP female representation is an instrumental good: that reelecting Sen. Hutchinson will round up the $0.77 dollar, whether she likes it or not. If equal pay matters, and laws matter, then how laws are passed to protect equal pay also matters. But if only the faces matter, why even bring the pocketbook into it?

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    2. (Sen. Bentsen, not for nothing, voted for the ERA in 1972, and for its 1978 extension, and -- wow! -- for the original Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed that summer by JFK. That's S.1409, 88th Congress, if you have access to GovTrack.)

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  9. Josh---it's the symbolism of us electing a Congress that reflects gender parity that will have a ripple effect throughout the culture including the political culture. The faces matter on both sides of the aisle because we apparently are a culture that doesn't respect women and thus we won't allow women to have their share of power. It's an inarguable fact that women hold 17% of the Congressional seats, 12% of the governorships, 8% of the mayorships of the 100 largest cities, the list goes on and on. There are even 4 states that have never had a female member of Congress: Vermont (!), Mississippi, Delaware, and Iowa. How can any of us presume that the status quo will hold if women have 51% of the seats when we have never tried it?

    You speak of things in the current paradigm and prism. I am looking for a new paradigm and a new prism. If I live long enough to see such a thing maybe I'll discover that nothing will change. But I'd sure like to find out how it will be.....

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    1. My alma mater has a female president and a female-majority (17/30) board of overseers; half the Ivy League presidents are now women. My employer, one of the twenty largest companies in the world, has a female president/CEO and a female near-majority (6/14) on its board of directors; our largest competitor also has a female CEO. Still waiting for symbolism to ripple, but we've all been pretty busy working.

      I'm fairly sure New Hampshire had a female-majority Senate in 2008, after the Dem landslide. Did I mention that my country used to have a female Speaker of the House?

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    2. The things you mention are cause for celebration!!But they are still the exception, not the rule. Women have made strides in some pockets here and there. But it is simply not enough.

      Six governors? AWESOME. But it's only 12%. Women comprise over 51% of the population. One woman speaker of the house? GREAT But she presided over a House that was only 17% women.

      New Hampshire had a female majority Senate? That is the best new of all. HOWEVER, women hold nationwide only 24% of the state legislative seats.

      It is simply not enough. Women haven't reached any critical mass in most places.

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