Friday, February 26, 2016

GOP Candidate John Kasich’s Comments and How This Isn’t New to United States Politics

Courtney Lynch 2/26/16

GOP Candidate John Kasich’s Comments and How This Isn’t New to United States Politics

John Kasich, a current Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election and current governor of Ohio, recently made a comment at one of his rallies that caused an uproar across the nation. His comment stemmed from his conversation on a previous campaign for state legislature from 1978, where he claimed that he was elected into office at such a young age due to his “army of supporters.” However, he then stated that among his supporters were women who “left their kitchens” to campaign on his behalf. Now, this comment can obviously be seen as one of misogynistic interest, especially seeing that it is coming from a GOP candidate who has in the last week signed a bill that will defund Planned Parenthood in the state that he governs. Backlash came upon him almost immediately, as a woman who attended the rally questioned Kasich about his remark:
"First off, I want to say your comment earlier about the women coming to support you? I'll come and support you, but I won't be coming out of the kitchen.” Kasich responded with a simplistic, “I got you,” and the rally carried on.
Now some can say that his comment wasn’t an attack on what the status of the modern day woman should be in the United States, rather than a remembrance of how the times were back then, when many women did in fact stay at home. Nevertheless, this definitely isn’t the first time that a male politician has made unfavorable and invalidating comments towards women in their public rallies, interviews, speeches and statements. Whether it be former Republican Congressman Todd Akin making his incredibly dismissive and misinformed comment on the female anatomy in 2012; "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” or Wisconsin State Senator’s very insightful comment and concept referring to his vote that would repeal an equal pay law devised to go against income discrimination between men and women;
“Money is more important for men. Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers. But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not "go go go." Now they're 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn't discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person.”

While these are two more current examples of what two men think women are capable of and want within their own lives, male opinion of women and the issues that women face has always been prevalent in United States politics, and can be traced back to the likes of the ‘Founding Fathers’. Thomas Jefferson made many public quotes on his opinion of women, including themes that are still commonplace within recent history, such as “how women should dress and appear.”
"Nothing is so disgusting to our sex as want of cleanliness and delicacy in yours." Thomas Jefferson once stated (As cited in Nock, 1966, p. 59). He also once stated, as cited in Miller, 1995, p. 184, “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor I.”
To women in the 21st century, these dated comments may not seem as decrepit as they actually are. Kansas Republican state senator Mitch Holmes recently stated some very controversial opinions on how women in political office should dress, and established an “11-point dress code that explicitly prohibits women from wearing low-cut blouses and certain skirt lengths when addressing the Senate committee.” When asked if Senator Holmes believed that men in political office should have a dress code, he thought about it, but then decided against it, stating, “[he felt] men didn’t need any instruction on how to look professional.” Thank you, Senator Holmes, us women do indeed need instruction from you so badly. However, it seems as you may need some yourself.
Women facing comments made by male politicians at this point is just so commonplace that it has become something that seems accepted. It has to have been, if the themes of conversation from the 1700’s can be carried on into present day.  


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Closing The Unpaid Work Gap

The value of a woman’s work must be calculated on a 24-hour basis, not just when she works her 9-5. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that when it comes to unpaid work, grocery shopping, child care, laundry, etc., women around the world spend 4.5 hours a day which is more than double that of a man. In Claire Miller’s article, “How Society Pays When Women’s Work is Unpaid”, she states that in order to balance out these numbers around the globe, it is important to embrace technology, family-friendly policies, and cultural change.

Being an advanced state, it isn’t difficult to get our tasks done in a timely fashion. We can load the dishwasher, put our clothes to dry, and even make dinner, all within an hour. For less developed countries however, these tasks can take hours and may even require long commutes to and from. Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates foundation notes that with new initiatives, the foundation will be supplying cellphones to women who cannot afford them in order to increase productivity.

Paid leave, for both men and women, are essential policies that can help balance the unpaid work gap. After giving birth, most women are secluded to their homes while caring for their newborn and without paid leave it is unlikely for them to return to work. Paternity leave is seen as unnecessary since some feel that a woman is well equipped to care for an infant alone but they fail to realize that compared to their financial support, moral and physical support goes a long way.

As Miller stated and as I strongly support, changing the mindset of males all around can better help break this never-ending cycle. I believe it is significant to distribute the daily household tasks evenly among partners, in addition to any and all financial obligations surrounding the family.  Without these efforts, women are forced to be dependent upon their partner’s efforts in addition to restrained in their independent streak.

Please follow this link to view the video created by the Lean In Campaign called #sharetheload, highlighting the imbalance in gender roles.

Miller, Claire Cain. "How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

-Luisa Ibner, MWPC Intern

Monday, February 22, 2016

Celebrating Black Women in Politics

As Black History Month comes to a close and election season rages on, we are reminded of a powerful political force at all levels of local, state and national influence: Black women.  Fighting for racial and gender equity, Black women have maintained the highest rates of voter turnout in the past two presidential elections.  With 74% of Black women voting in 2012, they voted in higher quantities than any other group, the next closest being White women at 64%.  2015 marked a record-breaking year for Black women in politics, who make up 21.4% of female members and 4.1% of all members in the House of Representatives.  While these numbers clearly have a long way to go in order to accurately reflect the population, significant gains since 2014 show glimmers of increasing representation. 

2016 is already shaping up to be another landmark year for women of color in politics.  African American Women for Hillary has been an influential organizing force behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign for democratic presidential nominee.  Additionally, the Black Lives Matter Movement, founded and headed by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, has helped to shape the conversation around economic inequality, police brutality, mass incarceration in each presidential candidates’ platform.  And many speculate that there is more good news to come.  Loretta Lynch, the first Black woman appointed to U.S. Attorney General is rumored to be a likely candidate for the open position on the Supreme Court due to the death of former Justice Scalia.  She would be the first Black woman ever nominated for the coveted position. 

While progress has been made, Black women are nowhere to be found in the Senate and they make up just 1% of state elected executive officials.  Much work is to be done.  The more that Black women get elected however, the more likely Black women are to vote and to run for office.  As we enter into Women’s History month, the MWPC would like to recognize and highlight of the amazing Black women paving the road to political, social and economic justice for all disenfranchised groups.

--Kathleen Melendy, MWPC Intern

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Big Gains for Women in Politics, but Reproductive Health Still on the Backburner

In 1976, National Public Radio correspondent Pauline Frederick joined a panel of men for a Ford-Carter presidential debate, but was not permitted to ask any questions.  40 years later, women outnumbered men 3 to 1 at the sixth Democratic presidential debate of this political season.  Co-anchors and managing editors of PBS Newshour, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, made history yesterday as the first anchor team comprised only of women to moderate a Democratic presidential debate.  This is the second history-making accomplishment for Ifill and Woodruff, who became the first female co-anchor team on a U.S. broadcast network in 2013.  Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith and Trish Regan co-anchored the earlier undercard Republican presidential debate a month prior to Ifill and Woodruff.  A boost in women moderators followed a 2012 petition to the Commission on Presidential Debates.  Started by Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel, the petition demanding a woman moderate one of the presidential debates gathered 122,339 signatures. 

Women have also called for candidates to discuss gender equality, including healthcare, family leave, wage equity and abortion access.  NARAL Pro-Choice criticized previous moderators for ignoring women’s reproductive rights during debates, starting the #AskAboutAbortion hashtag to urge Ifill and Woodruff to address the hot-button topic.  The moderators shied away from reproductive health, however, focusing on women’s waning support for Clinton.  NARAL and other pro-choice groups will continue the fight.  NARAL president Ilyse Hogue tweeted post-debate, “Asking abt support of women is NOT the same as laying out plans 2 expand abortion access.  Still need 2 @AskAboutAbortion.”

--Kathleen Melendy, MWPC Intern