“Don’t Forget the Ladies” by Angie King
Abigail Adams’ famous quote to her husband, John, while he was at the first Continental Congress, is still apt today. Check out the current Ms Magazine article by Martha Burk on the subject of how women are more adversely affected by the current recession/depression/downturn. And see the accompanying article by one of our NOW chapter members about her plight (“One Woman’s Reaction).
Burk points out that women’s job losses are larger than men’s; in the 2001 recession, women lost more jobs proportionately and did not recover those losses as the economy recovered. This time around, while they haven’t suffered as great a numeric loss, the jobs women hold are in low wage part time work with no benefits, often requiring more than one of those dead-end jobs to make ends meet. And, as a result, when these jobs are lost, those women fail to qualify for unemployment benefits. That inequality should be redressed as well.
Burk also points out that the main job losses have been in heavy industry and the stimulus plan calls for focusing on jobs in that same sector – jobs disproportionately held by men. She urges Congress to provide incentives to draw more women in these higher paying jobs (see wowonline.org for more detail). Women business owners deserve more than the Bush Administration’s 5 percent set aside for women owned businesses when awarding new contracts for those big stimulus projects.
Women are almost half the workforce and almost half of these women are heads of household. Since many of these jobs are in the health care sector and education, Burk urges Obama to reform sectors and fixing the health care system would not only provide jobs, but would give us all more access to health care.
Lastly, Burk urges preserving federal social programs such as food stamps or health care. These measures have the greatest impact on women and yield big returns for every dollar spent without changing the long-term effects on the economy.
Women may hold up half the sky, as the Chinese say, but currently, we are shouldering the larger chunk of the economic downturn. Write Capps and McCarthy and let them know you support their efforts to include women in all economic recovery legislation. “Don’t Forget the Ladies.”