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Less of a Man

With a spate of unfriendly legislation, this election race and the outcome asserts that a woman is less of a man. It is time to recognize their legislative rights, as women demand equality.

This election race asserts that a woman is less of a man. Women across the Nation unite this April 28, sharing their poignant narratives and footprints against nationwide feminized legislative insurgency. This insurgency against women in this election race is not a just a discourse of gender and politics. This wave of feminization in politics is moving beyond the rising rhetoric. It is impacting legislation. Commencing with several bills: the controversy on contraception and abortion, endorsing of Violence against Women Act (VAWA), vocabularies like Slut, Fetal Pain Bill, Vaginal Ultra-Sound – demeaning and inappropriate for government business.  This wave is sweeping over State Houses and floors, across the nation from Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, to Georgia. The diatribe against Sandra Fluke and the analogy made by Representative Terry England, women as farm animals, are shaping perceptions and vocabularies, unfortunately influencing outcomes for women. Legislative rights of women are at stake.

Aiming for gender equality in legislation is a smart thing to pursue. Then political, economic and social participation of women as equal and equitable partners become viable, where women are then included as known quantity in an electoral race.  Legislative rights, define proportion of what is fair and equal. Otherwise, in the absence of clear-cut legislation, leading to unfair and unequal consequences. Legislative equality of women eliminates perception-based judgments, decreasing vulnerabilities of women and minority groups. Without legislative equality−social, political and economic justice remains merely vocabulary limited to activists only.

Even today in the land of the free, women continue to struggle for their political, economic and social rights. As consequences of women unfriendly laws crafted by legislators lacking gender awareness, opportunities in social and economic costs continue rising. Georgia must review and revise laws influencing women’s rights from a legal standpoint. Gender parity in laws lead to significant increases in workforce productivity, economy and social progress improving general well-being of men, women, families and communities. The actions for improving political, economic and social participation of women in Georgia are insufficient. Who votes on what bill ultimately matters and this begins with political representation.

The proportion of women among State legislature in elective office nationwide in Georgia stands at the ranking of 26. Currently, no elected women official represents Georgia at the national level. Men comprising of 2 Senators and 13 House members represent the US Senate and the House.  Likewise, men hold all the statewide elected executive positions with zero women representing these offices. In the State legislature, women represent 23.7 percent of Senate and House/Assembly showing that only 9 women make up of the total 56 State Senators. In the House, representation is slightly higher with 47 women out of 180 House members. A comparison of historical data reveals that since 2005, there has been a steady decline in political representation of women in the legislature, adversely influencing trends in other sectors as well.

Not surprising, in Georgia, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings has been historically low.  Despite the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that seeks restitution for pay discrimination, on average, a full-time worker in Georgia is still paid $9,000 less per year than a man reflecting a median weekly earning of about 77.5 percent of their male counterpart. Paycheck Fairness Act that seeks to update 1963 Equal Pay Act is yet to pass into Law. Weakening their earning capacity further, other related legislations negatively influence women’s economic participation in the workforce.

These legislations on reproductive and preventive health care, unemployment insurance and access to safeguard and social services disproportionately affect women’s professional capacity to participate within the workforce. The externalities and internalities associated with these unsupportive legislations negatively influence productivity of 50 percent of the labor force influencing the economy. In the end, a robust economy is dependent on the trajectories of women friendly laws and gender equality in the workplace and for the workforce. Georgia’s jobless rate still stands at 9.0, above the national average of 8.2 percent. Within the civilian population, this number is much higher. The preliminary 2011 data on employment status by State and Demographic Group (excluding data for Asian Americans) www.bls.gov/lau/ptable14full2011.pdf shows Georgia’s total at 10.1 percent against a national average of 8.9 percent. The employment decline is more visible among women and ethnic minorities. For example, the average unemployment rate of African Americans is 15.8 percent, compared to 7.7 percent for Caucasians, 7.7 percent for Hispanics.  Only 52.7 percent of women are currently employed compared to 63.3 percent of male who are employed. The effect of income inequality has social consequences, pervasively normalized in the absence of legal provisions of social safety nets, security and human rights.

With rallies taking place in several cities today, women are demanding their rights and equality. If legislature continues to display negativism in gender parity, the repercussion on family, society and the economy will be tangible and will take much longer to restore. It is time to put the brakes on the negative perceptions and vocabularies, recognizing that women are important partners for progress. This recognition begins with political responsibility and recognizing that passing of the VAWA and the Paycheck Fairness Act is a smart thing to do, now.

What would happen if Romney were to win the election in Georgia? Putting it bluntly, Georgia will absolutely need a bipartisan commitment in improving gender equality in the legislature and across the board of law making. Bring Georgia in, by building bridges to this century. Make Georgia a state of 50/50 by improving legislation that supports women’s participation in the political, economic and social arena. When laws are fair, equitable, and equal − a woman is not less of a man. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Revhard April 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM
And who is pushing this legislation overwhelmingly? The Republican party. It boggles the mind. Didn't we already fight and win a lot of these arguments decades ago. Are we in a chauvinistic race with the Muslim world? As a man married to a woman who is far my superior in many facets, I am saddened by this backward slide to Victorian era mindset.
Sherilu April 29, 2012 at 06:08 PM
This has been coming for a while, but the sudden overwhelming onslaught of anti-women legislation is mind-boggling. I hope that women are waking up and seeing that our health, access and equality are in danger by this new-found medieval philosophy. Reproductive choice is basic to the equality of women and it is under siege.
Alain April 30, 2012 at 12:57 AM
"Gender parity in laws lead to significant increases in workforce productivity, economy and social progress improving general well-being of men, women, families and communities." - I couldn't agree more (scientific citation missing though). The effect of the Fetal Pain Bill and Vaginal Ultra-Sound laws will probably have no impact on the number of procedures done(a goal of the laws), and will introduce unnecessary risks, costs, and distress to women. These laws are an affront to the dignity of individuals, and their creators should be replaced by ones who create laws that will have actual positive societal outcomes.
Bernie April 30, 2012 at 03:01 AM
It is so obvious that more women are needed in positions of power in this state. But not just any women. We need women who believe in the rights of women - and unfortunately, this does not include a large portion of the women of the current ruling party in Georgia. In my recent efforts to round up women to protest at the capitol, I was questioned by an independent friend - had I contacted any Republican women's groups? I can tell you that there were none to be found that would even speak to me. In typical partisan fashion, they distanced themselves from an issue that is seen as "left". It's frustrating that some women are working for a team that is working against they and their daughters. We women have work to do - we rise when we work together.
David Leader April 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I mean, I hear you, but how many women "step up"? Usually they get tremendous support when they do. Look at our election here in Peachtree Corners; in every slot where a woman ran, a woman won. My girlfriend Angie admitted in Post 5 she voted for Lori, not because she particularly liked her better, but because in a decision between a strong woman and a strong man she'd rather have a strong woman win. And my sister-in-law in 2008 admitted that while she liked Obama better, she was voting for Hilary because she wanted to support a woman. Woman activists have never been more supportive, especially in the wake of this anti-female legislation. We just need more women to step up.
Brian Crawford April 30, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Eloquently said Amreeta. It seems part of the Republican election strategy, along with suppressing the minority and youth vote, is to also suppress the largest voting demographic by exerting as much control over women's lives as possible. The 2010 election was a nationwide disaster for women, especially in the state houses. Of course one could make the claim that since women are a majority of the electorate they largely brought this on themselves. The beautiful thing about America is that we have the opportunity to change this at the ballot box and all of the draconian legislation attacking women's rights can be undone.
Jimmy May 01, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Maybe they distanced themselves not because its an issue they see as 'left', but because they see it as an issue that is a fabrication of the left, designed to rile up peoples emotions while at the same time distracting them from the real issues facing this country.
Bernie May 01, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I see that someone is on the meme that the left is "fabricating issues", an idea that is preposterous in light of the fact that the GOP congress has ignored the issue of jobs for almost two years now in order to go after the rights of women - the right to vote - the right to free speech... By the way... what "riles up" the right? What issues are blasted from Fox and talk radio on a consistent basis? Sharia Law? Baby killing? "Gays" killing marriage? Talk about "fabricated issues". It alway amazes me when I see the right pointing at the left... complaining about a behavior that they commit with willful abandon. Hypocrisy.
Jean Rogers May 01, 2012 at 12:07 PM
When will all you people stop blaming republicans for everything in your life? The democrats had all the power for 2 years and all we got was an unfair health bill and debt we may never pay off! The dems love in- fighting so you don't pay attention to our real problems. That way they have a chance for 4 more years to finish off the USA, then you'll have some real problems.
GregRodgers May 01, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Jean...(no relation) We could go on and on....you say Dems had control for 2 years...I say Republicans have obstructed just as long. The party of no no no to the middle class and Yes Yes Yes to corporate Welfare and trickle down economics...that we all know does not create anything except wealth for the wealthy. I still fail to see how the health care bill is unfair. The mandate? Maybe....but we cannot continue to have people receive free care...when the insurance companies dump higher rates on people who have insurance and then turn around and give us less coverage. This is what is truly unfair.
Bernie May 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I live in a county where there is not one single elected Democrat at the County level. I have Republican "representation" (Fran Millar and Tom Rice) in the state assembly. If we cannot blame the republicans for the mess we have... who do you suggest we should blame? I have Republican "representation" in the US House (Rob Woodall). I have two Republican Senators who "represent" me in Washington (Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chamblis). I have ZERO representation except for one person, and that is Barack Obama. He is MY representation and I will do everything in my power to see him re-elected. "All you people" (that's me!) complain about the problems and understand the source of the problems, and offer solutions to the problems. We have seen little understanding or problems solving from the right. Only when we can work together can we solve problems - so we need people who are willing to do so. And this brings us back to Amreeta's well written opinion piece: We need more women in office.
Julia Moore May 01, 2012 at 11:07 PM
This is too stupid to reply to.
Jimmy May 02, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Yes, we definitely need the bipartisanship that only a female perspective can provide. A few stellar examples come to mind, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters and Cynthia McKinney... PS- Barack doesnt care about you. He just wants your vote.
Brian Crawford May 02, 2012 at 11:21 AM
When they stop screwing everything up. The health care bill was the epitome of fairness and compromise and over 75% of our national debt accumulated before the financial crisis was run up under Republican administrations. Almost every nickel Obama has spent has been fixing the mess he was left. The Republican solution to our problems is to implement the same policies that ruined us in the first place.
Blue Streak May 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Bernie, I think part of our problem as women is we've let the ball drop for a decade and coasted along thinking we didn't have to guard and protect our rights every second of the day. The over-sexualization of women in our popular culture is a major contributor. It's as if a whole generation of young women have become Stepford people. If young female voters would get a clue about what's being legislated about them, they would be horrified. And, they would see who protects their rights and best interests and who doesn't.
Beth Elam May 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
To quote Jimmy - "Yes, we definitely need the bipartisanship that only a female perspective can provide" First, that statement is so completely, ridiculously, incompetent; who are you to think that any gender is so superior compared to the other that they are the only one to save the day? Of course you show your bias by listing women you respect, admittedly I do not know Lee, however the other 4 have not represented all women as equal members of society, let's not pretend they represent women who disagree with their agenda. Cynthia McKinney is an embarrassment to womanhood and the state of Georgia. Most women in politics are just as guilty of sexism as the men they are accusing of said sexism. No gender is better than the other, each individual has their strengths and weaknesses. Women who are all about promoting only women are doing women a disservice, show yourself as intelligent and support the best person for the job, female or male.
Jimmy May 11, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Thanks for making my point Beth. When you do your research to learn more about Sheila Jackson Lee (congresswoman from Texas, and an ignorant, racist fool, who once asked NASA for pictures of the flag Neil Armstrong planted on Mars), be sure to look up the definition of the word sarcasm. I believe you will find it applies to my comment above.
wmac May 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I love anonymous post..jackhole

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