Despite consistent low approval ratings, President Barack Hussein Obama won re-election for a second term in 2012.
Different reasons were cited for that Obama victory: infighting within the Republican Party, Romney’s inability to convey a concise message, conservative principles being out of touch, etcetera. Many points were made as to how such an unpopular president could win a second election.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest issues that helped President Obama win those votes is the well-orchestrated propaganda aptly named the “War on Women” – allegedly an agenda by conservatives to make the lives of women very difficult.
Even after the 2012 elections, the “war on women” issue has been brought up in many discussions across the United States. The hype aims to paint a picture that women are being subjugated and that males live in a privileged society they call the ‘patriarchy’.
Now if this were Iran or Saudi Arabia being discussed, where women are blatantly being treated as subordinates and are deprived of many basic human rights, there would be no argument that there is a war on women.
But can the same really be applied in a developed Western nation? Almost all of the developed world allow abortions, and no doubt are they very liberal about the use of contraceptives. Laws are also in place to avoid gender discrimination and women are a dominant presence in their governments.
Hence it raises eyebrows when a developed nation such as the United States whine about a ‘war on women’ happening in their own backyard and that their women are somehow oppressed.
For argument’s sake however, let’s entertain the selling points of all this hype. According to these War on Women (W.O.W.) activists, the biggest issues are a woman’s access to an abortion and income inequality.
On abortion rights, these W.O.W. activists make the inference that the pro-life movement is male-dominated and is solely on the side of the conservatives.
However a Gallup poll would tell a different story. According to a 2012 survey, Americans calling themselves ‘pro-choice’ or pro-abortion are at a record low – only 41% of US citizens claim that viewpoint compared to 50% who claim to be pro-life.
In another survey conducted in 2013, the percentage of women in the US claiming to be pro-life is almost half – at 46%. That strongly contradicts the w.o.w. movement’s claim that the pro-life movement is male-dominated. It is not also solely comprised of conservatives, since 47% of independent voters identify with the pro-life label as well as 31% of Democrats.
Now that the anti-women’s reproductive rights accusations are out of the way, let’s turn to income inequality.
Contrary to the claims of many W.O.W. activists, women do not earn less than men. That would be a great civil rights injustice if it were true. Fortunately, it is just a distortion of the facts.
We are all familiar with the rhetoric: for every a dollar a man earns a woman earns 77 cents, representing a 23% difference.
Yes that 23-cent pay gap figure is real, but it’s not because men and women are segregated into different pay grades. That gap is no more than the difference between the average of the sum total of the incomes of all men compared to all women working full-time.
Of the top five most remunerative jobs – petroleum engineer, pharmaceutical scientist, computer scientist, aerospace engineer and chemical engineer – men dominate four of these roles. Only in the field of pharmaceutical sciences do women have a greater presence than their men.
In other words, it all comes down to the career choice men and women typically make for themselves. Not because women are given less hours to work nor are they denied promotions or pay-raises but simply because of the careers they typically choose.
If that is the problem, then how does the W.O.W. movement propose to fix this? By dictating women on what career they should choose? That sounds very anti-woman to me.
More statistics further illustrate that men are not that privileged in society.
Among child custody winners, 84% are women. Men are also four times as likely to commit suicide compared to women. Males also account 93% of all industrial workers deaths in the U.S. and 97% of all combat-related fatalities. Also 76% of all homicide victims are male. (Source here)
In terms of education, women far outnumber men in attaining a college degree – by the age of 27 years a woman is thirty-three times more likely to have earned a college degree than a man. In total, more women hold bachelor degrees than men in the U.S. Furthermore, the percentage of women who go straight to college after finishing high school is 71% compared to only 61% for men.
Homeless people are also dominated by males, about 67.5% of them. Despite that, there are more gender-specific homeless shelters for women than there are unisex.
Domestic violence and sexual assault cases are also among the biggest concerns for w.o.w. activists. They are right on that point though, women are more likely to be victims of rape and domestic violence than men. But that isn’t saying men cannot be victims of domestic abuse.
In fact a report in 2010 reveals that more than 40% of domestic abuse victims are males. Despite a huge figure, government-funded domestic violence (DV) shelters in the US do not allow men.
When you listen to hyperbole from the War on Women proponents, you almost fall into the hype and believe that maybe there is a deliberate campaign to punish women – but thankfully statistics hold better than oratory.
The statistics clearly show that contrary to what has been said, women in the United States are really not treated any worse than men.
This, on the other hand, is not to say there is no war on women anywhere in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa is a perfect place to catch a glimpse of this injustice, with young women subjected to genital mutilation and are forced into an arranged marriage.
Saudi Arabia also imposed a ban on women drivers recently, and until a few years ago did not allow their women to represent the nation in sports team. Whereas in Iran, women are required by law to wear a veil outdoors and barbaric punishments for crimes such as flogging and stoning to death still exist for crimes done by the female sex.
I often wonder why these W.O.W. activists waste their time going after guys like Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney, when there are bigger oppressors of women in another part of the world. Men who are so hell-bent on making the lives of women miserable they can teach the Republican party a lesson on sexism.