Monday, April 04, 2011

Katha Pollitt on Budget Cuts and Women

Katha points out the ways in which women are disproportionately affected by the Republican policies on both the federal and the state levels:
Remember “shared sacrifice”? Like the rain, the budget cuts were supposed to fall on all alike. But somehow men seem to be ending up with more than their share of umbrellas, and women are getting soaked. Attacks on reproductive healthcare are openly aimed at women and have gotten a lot of attention—like the House vote to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate the Title X family planning program, which has fortunately been blocked in the Senate. Less visible are the ways federal, state and local government cutbacks, touted as neutral and necessary belt-tightening, will fall disproportionately on women.

The cuts will affect women in three ways. Partly as a legacy of private sector discrimination, a huge proportion of working women are employed by government or government contractors, and they tend to work in the very areas slated for the most drastic slashes—education, healthcare, social services, libraries, legal aid, secretarial and other office work. Moreover, because they are more likely to be poor, old and caring for children or relatives, women are the major recipients of social services. Thus, when a senior center is closed down, not only is the elderly person deprived of care likely to be female, the staffer who prepared her lunch or organized her group activities is probably a woman too—and so is the relative who now must take up the slack.

We are beginning to see the impact of this on unemployment figures:
Heavy job losses in public sector employment disproportionately affected women and contributed to the dismal employment picture for women throughout the recovery. While women represented just over half (57.0 percent) of the public workforce at the end of the recession, they lost virtually all (99.6 percent) of the 257,000 jobs cut in this sector during the recovery. 4
Is all this part of the Republican war against women? Probably not on the surface level. What goes on beneath that is for you to figure out.

It's a weird coincidence that during my recent travels on Those Sites I found this very argument proposed as a way to get women back into the kitchen where they belong. Keep the policemen and the firemen, cut the make-work wimminz jobs and voila, the wimminz must go back home and menz can then be happy again. In control as they are intended to be by both god and evolutionary psychology.

I'm not saying that the Republicans are all misogynists. But it's sorta worrying that their policies align perfectly with the policies of misogynists.