The Paycheck Fairness Act was up for a Senate vote yesterday and Republicans blocked it. In other words- it lost. It was a long shot, but it couldn’t have been brought up at a time when the hatred of women was more obvious.
Tomorrow is the 47th anniversary of birth control being legal in the U.S. Right now the fight against birth control and abortion has crept into the political realm of even the most moderate of conservatives.
What’s the connection? Power and control of women.
Women are paid less, but still work a lot because they have to. Obviously, it takes more effort to get ahead in life when you make less money. Interestingly, this encourages women to rely on men to be able to really get ahead. Of course that in itself doesn’t make sense because to rely on someone else is in fact not getting ahead with your independent self, it is depending on someone else for the outcome you want.
In an intact heterosexual couple, if one person needs to take care of the children and the family can afford this arrangement, won’t it automatically be the woman who stays home? Why would she go to work when the man will make more money if he goes? He will go off to work and she will stay home with the kids. And BOOM, gender stereotypes reinforced, leaving her with little choice about working outside the home and putting her in an inferior position as she has no choice about her life and situation. This keeps women out of politics where policies are made that decide her rights.
It also keeps women as the secondary breadwinners in families so automatically there is a power difference and men have the one up.
It’s a catch 22 as well. Women make less so they are less valued. Because women are less valued, they make less.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have forced businesses to pay women the same as men. Women are always sacrificed and seen as less important, so much so that the Senate bypassed the human rights issue. All people should be treated equally and fair, this means when people who have equal qualifications do equal work, there should be equal pay. It shouldn’t matter what gender people are in order for their to be equal pay.
Tomorrow marks the 47th anniversary of the legalization of birth control. Margaret Sanger, the founder of the birth control movement in the U.S., believed in a woman’s right to plan the size of her family. She was a nurse working among New York City’s poor and witnessed uncontrolled fertility, self-induced abortions, and high rates of infant and maternal mortality and began fighting for birth control education, access and availability. She began this advocacy for women’s lives, health, and freedom in 1914 almost 100 years ago.
Birth control didn’t become legal until 1965 and Roe v Wade wasn’t until 1973. Look where we are now. Provided they can pay for it, women in the U.S. have access to legal and for the most part, relatively safe, birth control. Birth control methods and abortions have always been around, but have not always been legal. Legality is key. It socially sanctions women’s right to make decisions for herself.
When birth control and then abortion were made legal, the nation as a collective was essentially saying that women are not property of men like they used to be because they can make their own decisions.
Sanger envisioned women claiming the legalization of birth control, as a human right. She didn’t see this happen in her lifetime, but it did happen. Women have claimed legal contraception as a fundamental right. And why shouldn’t it be. With legal contraception, women are able to plan careers, families, and their lives. They are not stuck raising a child they don’t want with no help from the father of that child. Birth control affords women freedom. It allows women to have choice about their bodies and lives.
What has been called emergency contraception, Plan B, has been looked down upon as an abortion pill, though false information about how it works was being publicized. New information has just been released explaining that Plan B prevents or delays ovulation and does not prevent fertilized eggs from doing their thing. That is huge! It has nothing to do with abortion.
When it comes down to it, much of the arguments about birth control have nothing to do with abortion. They’re about power and control.
Sanger argued, legalized birth control would be a tool for redistributing power fundamentally, in the bedroom, the home, and the larger community. “Women would achieve personal freedom by experiencing their sexuality free of consequence, just as men have always done, but in taking control of the forces of reproduction they would also lower birth rates, alter the balance of supply and demand for labor, and therein accomplish the revolutionary goals of workers without the social upheaval of class warfare.”
But this is terrifying to some people. The idea that women can make their own decisions about their bodies, can make a living wage, and won’t have to rely on men scares some people because it takes away the power they have had over women.
Those fighting against women being able to make decisions for their bodies are the same ones who do not want women to make the same amount of money as men who have the same qualifications and do the same work.
Economic power is one reason people want to keep women down. Paying women more will cost companies more and may lead to women being in leadership positions. Bringing me to the other reason people want to keep women down: Control.
The world order will shift when women are treated as equal to men. Now is the time for that shift and the GOP is pushing back pretty hard. Women must have options and choice for our bodies and lives.
We will not be forced into our homes, under someone’s thumb and quiet.
Grrl Code: Recognize the contributions of women in this world and how women can accomplish more and have more success when we have choice for ourselves, our bodies, and our lives.