“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” -Maya Angelou
We write this letter in response to an article published by The Quindecim, written by Mr. Mark McDonald in response to the article written by Mr. Cameron Yudelson, entitled, “Why does the GOP hate women?”
As stipulated by Mr. McDonald, one explanation for the gender wage gap is that “historically, women and men have continuously chosen different careers.” Mr. McDonald’s point asserts that women have, over time, chosen to take positions that historically pay less and are viewed as “traditional female roles.”
In reality, women have simply been socialized to believe that these traditional female roles are “correct” and what is to be expected of them. According to the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, young girls are presented with books that show women with babies, women as nurses or as teachers, where young boys are presented with stories of successful men in positions of leadership.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Women’s Bureau, women are still overwhelmingly taking jobs as administrative assistants, teachers and nurses, all of which are seen as traditionally female occupations.
Being berated and bombarded with images of “traditional female roles” normalizes women working in gendered positions, teaching young girls that traditional leadership roles are for men, not women. Mr. McDonald, it’s not that women don’t desire positions of power, it is the fact that from a young age, we are told they are not for us.
To address Mr. McDonald’s comments about The Equal Pay act, we are required to dissect the basic functions of the act itself.
The Equal Pay Act, although created under the guise of equality, has clauses built into it to avoid accountability for sex-based wage biases. According to the Institute for Science and Human Values, this allows employers to “escape liability for unequal pay, as it has been altogether too easy for them to fabricate some other reason for the wage disparity.”
Currently, no state affords women the opportunity to make a 1:1 dollar earnings ratio, going against the fundamental purpose of the act itself. The closest any state gets is the District of Columbia, offering women .90 cents to every dollar men earn (AAUW).
Further, these statistics favor white women. According to the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, black women are paid 13 percent less than white women and 33 percent less than white men, latina women are paid 27 percent less than white women and 43.5 percent less than white men.
Companies are not simply choosing to hire fewer women; fewer women are able to access said positions and are, therefore, hired less.
In his response piece, Mr. McDonald wrote that “Republicans and Democrats want the same thing… equal rights for women.” Amazing! But, what about equitable healthcare? Reproductive care and other practices specifically for female-bodied individuals are not secondary to baseline care. They are fundamental.
While Republican opposition to Obamacare may in fact be, to quote Mr. McDonald, “[the] result of the government rationed health care, loss of liberty to choose whether or not to pay for healthcare, inability to choose providers [and] loss of access to specific doctors,” this goes against Mr. McDonald’s original assertion of the Republican mission: equality.
To supplement this article constructively, we asked ourselves, where do we see Republicans spending their energy? Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, self-proclaimed “courageous conservative,” is practically basing his political campaign on abolishing a woman’s right to choose (Funny, as it rhymes with his name).
In a letter written on July 29, 2015 to Speaker of the House John Boehner, Majority Leader McCarthy and Majority Whip Scalise in response to alleged misconduct on the part of Planned Parenthood, 18 Republican members of congress stated that in the time during these alleged actions, Planned Parenthood needed to be defunded. As opposed to productively channeling their political power, they expressed vehement opposition towards the continuation of this care facility, despite its work with low-income communities and those whom the system of federal healthcare has failed.
The following is a list of issues that the Republican party could be directing their political power towards instead of spending their energy defunding health care: educational equity, ending the increased violence against people of color at the hands of state actors, student debt, the current migrant crisis, clean energy and ending the prison industrial complex and the war on drugs.
Mark McDonald, as opposed to asking you to apologize to all women, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual identity or political affiliation, or for trying to speak on their behalf, we have chosen to educate you.