Posted by: Genny Colby | April 10, 2012

A War on Women

It is hard for me to believe, that in 2012, we are still talking about gender equality, or a lack there of.    And it angers me to no end to see how many pieces of legislation are being proposed, how many elected (or hopeful to be elected) officials are trying to undermine or put down women.  How have we come back to this?

Because I have been closely following the mess Gov. Scott Walker is making of my home state of WI, let’s start here.  This Republican Governor recently signed legislation that repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act.    Basically he is saying that employers do not have to pay men and women equally and if they don’t there is very little recourse an employee can take, including taking away the employee’s right to file any sort of law suit.  Yes, discrimination is still illegal, but with Gov Walker signing this latest piece of legislation, he takes away any recourse an individual has to fight for equal pay or equal rights in the work place.  Then you have WI State Senator Glenn Gothman stating that pay discrimination is a myth and that women find money less important than men.

He also signed legislation banning abortions through the Health Insurance Exchange, except in the cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.  Women must now meet with a doctor in private before scheduling an abortion, under the guise of making sure she is not being forced into this decision.  On the whole this is not a bad idea…except that it then takes the choice of who attends and supports a woman during any type of appointment, let alone one of this magnitude.  But it also puts doctors in the difficult position of the law dictating the type of care and method of delivery that is given to a patient.

And I love how he was able to sneak in a piece of legislation that basically says schools do not have to teach sex ed, they can just teach abstinence.  Now, I agree that abstinence is the best practice for teens (and really some adults!) but the reality is that teens are having sex.  Let’s make sure they have all the information to make informed choices.  But that is a topic for a future post..and debate.

Now some may say, “Okay, so that is Wisconsin, who cares?”.  But what is happening in WI is almost a testing ground for the conservative Republican agenda.  If they can get away with it in WI, then it may be seen as hope that such measures can be passed in other states and even make it on a national level.

As WI moves into their recall elections (so exciting to see the political process at work when ordinary citizens stand up and say “Um, that is NOT what we elected you to do!) and as we head in to the long (drawn out) Presidential elections, it is even more important for all of us to stop and listen to what elected and potentially elected officials are really saying.  What is their agenda?  Are they truly going to do what is best for our city/county/state/nation as a whole or for just a small portion of the population who give them lots of money?

Women must be even more diligent because if what we are seeing happen across the country now continues, it is going to set back women’s rights by at least 50 years.  As the mother of a young girl, I want her to grow up knowing she has the same rights as her brother. Confident in the idea that she can be anything she wants.  That she has the right to make her own decisions for her health, her family, her life without some piece of legislation basically telling her that since she is female she is not capable of such choices so they will be made for her by the law.

I think we have become, as a nation, to complacent about politics.  All to ready to let someone else fight the fight, stand up for those without a voice, or take action against those officials who either are not doing their job with the interest of the people in mind, or who are too influenced by the money trail.  It may be time to look back at my parent’s generation and stand up for what is right, for the direction we want our country to move in, and make sure that we are moving forward and not backward.


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