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An Improving Economy Bad For Women, or A Conservative War on Women?

March 8, 2011

Cross-posted from

Throughout the depths of the recession, there was much to be  said about the disproportionate effect on men’s employment. Women, typically lower paid, and in fields not as hard hit as male-dominated fields like manufacturing and construction, were doing pretty well in comparison. (If  ”doing pretty well” is defined as simply having a job.)

Ah, but times have changed. The unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percent in just the last three months, manufacturing is at its highest level since 2004; and, right or wrong, government focus is now on budget cuts rather than job creation or economic stimulus.  This puts women in a bad spot.

In fact, since the recovery officially began in June 2009, private employers have added over half a million jobs filled by men; in the same period, women have lost over 140,000 of those jobs. In the public arena, things are looking even more bleak.  Let’s take Wisconsin as an example: Governor Scott Walker’s plans to disenfranchise public workers will hit women hardest, as they continue to make up the majority of that workforce. To drive the point home, keep in mind that the only public employees Walker is exempting are police and firefighters. (Two groups which are almost entirely male.)

Even though women represent just over half of the public workforce, the National Women’s Law Center reports that they account for an astounding 83.8% of public-sector job losses during the so-called recovery. To make matters worse, we are also watching government funding for programs like childcare and social services disappear. These are, of course, fields dominated by women, and upon which many women rely so that they are able to work in the first place.

When I’ve suggested that these attacks on public employees are somehow sexist, I’ve received a fair amount of push-back from readers. But tell me: when was the last time our national debate turned on conservative smears of a group of  ”greedy, lazy” people living much too well at the expense of the taxpayer? “Welfare Queens”, anyone?

Couple this with the virulent, radical anti-choice legislation popping up all over the country; throw in the GOP attacks on funding for things like Planned Parenthood, in the name of deficit reduction; and the conspiracy theorist in me is starting to have a hard time believing this isn’t all some vast, right-wing plot to put women back in the house, barefoot and pregnant.

Update: A reader has pointed me to this piece over at The Political Carnival.

That is why it is no surprise that, buried in his infamous budget, is a direct assault on family planning and Planned Parenthood, in particular.The Cap Times (Madison) gets right to the point: “Walker’s elimination of family planning funds could jeopardize federal dollars, close clinics.” […]

The plot thickens…


2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2011 6:38 am

    First, I’d like to make a comment to the person who made the only comment; it always surprises me when I hear someone from the Right, quoting numbers that reflect how bad things are. This after it was THEIR president that put us there in the first place; need I go through the litany of things that George W. did during his 8 years of folly in the White House, with wars and deregulation. He may not be entirely responsible, but he sure holds a lot of the blame.

    Call us worthless Hippies if you want, but it’s better than being a worthless, uptight stuffed-shirt who can’t see past their own noses.

    Now Casandra, about your blog; I do agree that women have been getting the shaft of late, and yes, I also think it’s because conservatives really like the idea of women being under the all knowing and powerful men, and to many of them; it would be better if they stayed home. Where I disagree with you is Governor Scott Walker’s motivation behind what he is doing in Wisconsin. To me, that is part of a bigger picture of what the Republicans are trying to do; by taking power away from unions so that big corporate interest will have all the power, along with all the money. In turn, this will take the power away from the Democrats that have been supported for a long time by unions.

    Fortunately, the majority of the population in Wisconsin agrees with the public employees and the unions that the Governor is going way too far with trying to take their bargaining rights away.

    Larry Clement

  2. Soros the Psychophant permalink
    March 8, 2011 5:38 pm

    My Gawd, where do you socialists get your information from? Soros? How’s this for a spin on words…

    The unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percent in just the last three months, manufacturing is at its highest level since 2004.

    Manufacturing “GREW” at it’s highest level since 2004. Not the “highest” manufacturing rate since 2004 – it’s not even close to 2007 levels. It’s been so depressed, that’s a statistical anomaly. And as far as unemployment dropping? That’s parody, right? How about a shrinking job market? You progressives call that good? Real unemployment or underemployment is at about 19%.

    Didn’t you worthless Hippies learn anything last November? Guess not…line up for ass kickings come next year.

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