Friday, February 3, 2017

This is Why Women Marched

I’ve heard from men and women who didn’t understand what the Women’s marches around the country were all about. We can start with the fact that the people asking the question are most likely responsible for electing a man to the presidency who brags about grabbing women in their private parts. He’s been recorded saying such things on more than one occasion so cannot plausibly deny it. Given the fact that these statements have been broadcast repeatedly as well as written about in numerous major newspapers that means there are lot of people who don’t care that they voted for the kind of man who does such things and brags about it.

The marchers had good reason to protest against a man who has admitted on live radio to walking into the dressing room of Miss Teen USA while the teenage girls were undressed. He wasn’t just mouthing off as numerous young women who competed in the pageants have reported that he did indeed walk in on them while they were in various states of undress. As the father of a teenage daughter I find that kind of behavior reprehensible yet many fathers and mothers ignored it in order to vote for him.

The women and men marching weren’t just protesting the newly inaugurated president for his personal behavior though. They were also protesting against his campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood which provides women’s health services to tens of thousands of low income women and men nationwide. Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers have served 2,840,000 men and women in the U.S. and have helped prevent an estimated 515,000 unintended pregnancies and averted 216,000 abortions every year.

The gender wage gap is another reason 2.6 million Americans marched in various cities and towns all over the country, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas among them. The gender wage gap is bad enough for white women but it's even worse for women of color. A 2015 study showed that while white women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by a white man while black women earned 65 cents and Hispanic women 58 cents. The result isn't explained by education or field alone, it turns out that when women become the majority in any given job area the pay for that field goes down for everyone including the men doing the same job.

Actress and activist America Ferrera explained her participation this way "We reject the dehumanization of our Muslim mothers and sisters. We demand an end to the systemic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters. We will not give up our right to safe and legal abortions. We will not ask our LGBTQ families to go backwards. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance. We won’t build walls, and we won’t see the worst in each other. And we will not turn our backs on the more than 750,000 young immigrants in this country currently protected by DACA."

The marches were about many things including solidarity, protest and inspiration. Now the hard work begins for those who seek to make this country better as we organize and network to get voters to the polls and defeat the forces that would set women’s rights back.

Published in the Seguin Gazette January 27, 2017

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