Equal Work Pay
I think many will be surprised to learn that in 2012, women still do not receive identical employment wages as men for the same position. Research shows that in many cases, women receive $0.77 for every $1.00 men earn. $0.23 may not seem like a huge difference, but it definitely adds up. For instance, if a female is employee is earning $11.55 hourly to a male employee’s $15.00 for 8 hours of work, there’s going to be $27.60 difference in wages by the end of the day- and that’s before taxes are withheld. Single-income houses supported by women and single mothers are hurt most by this divergence. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, removing statutes of limitations to file an equal pay lawsuit. Earlier proposed versions of the bill did not readily get support from Republican officials and candidate Mitt Romney remained elusive on his views on the act until April 2012 when he confirmed he would not repeal the legislation if elected.
Results from a study conducted by the National Women’s Law Center revealed that many insurance companies charge higher premiums to women and often exclude coverage of services that only women need, like maternity care. The report also explained how the Affordable Healthcare Act (A.K.A “ObamaCare”) would help eliminate discriminatory practices and expand coverage. As far as I know, Romney’s campaign has not addressed premium gender-bias specifically. There has been much debate about the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health and sexual education organization and chief provider of low-cost women’s health services (ex. cancer screenings and birth control). Some politicians want to cut funding to the organization to reduce government spending or because they feel uncomfortable with Parenthood’s offering of abortion education and procedures (Planned Parenthood maintains that government funds are not used provide abortions). Considering what the group affords women, this stance is sometimes viewed as insensitive to the demographic.
The inclusion of birth control in insurance packages has been as hot of a topic as abortion lately. Some feel that birth control is a voluntary, discretionary medicine that will increase insurance prices if included. The reality is that birth control is often prescribed to help with an array of illnesses influenced by hormonal changes and the reproduction system, such as ovarian cysts. Birth control does indeed have a medicinal purpose other than preventing pregnancy.
On the subject of abortion legalization, it’s often deemed a gender issue because pregnancy and abortion primarily affect women and is decided by a male-dominated U.S. government. Roe V. Wade was the landmark court decision that lead to the legalization of abortion across the nation. Mitt Romney describes himself as “pro-life” and seeks to have the decision overturned, leaving the choice of legalization to individual state government. President Obama wants to uphold Roe V. Wade. “Pro-life” means that one believes each child conceived should live. Those that are “pro-choice” believe that the mother should have the freedom to decide whether or not to carry her child to term. There are many inaccurate stigmas about both. Pro-lifers are often stereotyped as sexist, intense, judgmental individuals who try to traumatize people into disagreeing with abortion by flashing pictures of aborted fetuses. Pro-choicers are sometimes labeled as “baby-killing” murderers who endorse promiscuity and nonchalantly consider abortion as a form of birth control. Neither stereotype is true. There are some fiery pro-life groups and “sexual freedom” pro-choicers, but that isn’t everyone. At the heart of pro-life concern is the loss of a potential life, while freedom and option is the concern of pro-choice.
I am pro-choice and believe that overturning Roe V. Wade would be an injustice towards women; let me tell you why. If abortion is illegal, women WILL back-door the procedure and seek the help of those who are ill-quipped to perform it, opening themselves to infection, illness or death. We don’t want that. 2nd, I believe we have to watch what we allow government to control. The government should not force any woman to carry (or abort, like in China with the one-child policy) a child to term, especially if doing so will threaten the mother’s life or she is a victim of rape or incest. Forcing a woman to carry or abort is violation of personal choice. No, I do not approve of promiscuity or using abortion casually, but that’s just it- it’s never casual. For pregnant women in crisis, deciding to keep, abort or place their child to be adopted is NEVER a causal or easy choice and there are social and personal ramifications with every option. I know this first-hand as I completed an internship at a post-abortion counseling center and met women who all handled their crisis pregnancy differently. I wanted to try diffuse the idea and typecast that abortion is a game for those who seek to receive one.
These are all major issues that profoundly impact the lives, health and freedoms of women and it’s important for the sake of gender equality, we analyze them and question our presidential candidates on how they plan to approach them.