Gender equality should not be a zero-sum gameBy: Leah Cavanaugh
It’s hard to imagine that not long ago some states prohibited women from serving on juries, denied unmarried women access to contraceptives, and deemed a husband “head and master” with unilateral control of a couple’s property. Court decisions and legislation have remedied many injustices of the past. Women are well represented at all levels of government. An increasing number of women serve in Congress; Auburn has a woman mayor and two Placer County supervisors are women.
I am proud of my party’s record as a champion of women’s rights. A Republican legislature gave women the right to vote in California. Nine years later a Republican Congress enacted the 19th Amendment, extending the right to women nation-wide. President Reagan broke the Supreme Court’s glass-ceiling when he appointed the first woman justice.
Any suggestion that Republicans wage “war on women.” is preposterous. We are engaged in a battle, but our mission is freedom and equality for everyone, women and men. We fight against government’s intrusion into business operations with regulations that hamstring employers and make them vulnerable to costly litigation, when they must defend against baseless charges.
Measures that empower one segment of the population by stripping others of their rights is not progress.
“Pro-choice” advocates would deny individuals and organizations a choice to follow their conscience and the teachings of their religion. President Trump attempted to preserve religious freedom with measures allowing employers, like Little Sisters of the Poor, to opt out of contraception coverage, and giving health care workers the freedom to decline to perform procedures they believe are morally objectionable.
It’s disappointing that a dozen states, including California, were successful in getting a judge to block the new rules.
Women are not the only ones to experience gender bias. Men face discrimination in family court, the criminal justice system, and the court of public opinion. In a divorce, women are awarded child custody 81 percent of the time. Men are sentenced to 60 percent more prison time than women convicted of the same crime. A presumption of innocence often does not apply to men accused of sexual abuse. Little attention is given to male victims of severe domestic violence, even though they are the target 40 percent of the time. Where are the shelters for fathers needing to escape abuse with their children?
We hear a woman earns only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. If this comparison is valid, it doesn’t mean employers are guilty of sex discrimination.
Rather, a wage gap is created when women make different choices than men.
To accommodate family obligations, women often choose better benefits and more flexible hours over a high salary.
Working conditions in male-dominated jobs like construction and manufacturing are physically demanding and often dangerous. Ninety-two percent of workplace fatalities involve males. Men are justly compensated for putting their lives on the line.
Many of the highest salaries are in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
These disciplines appeal more to men. Women earn the majority of college degrees, but just 18 percent of computer-science degrees go to women.
Some theories claim nurture, not nature, causes women to develop their preferences and aptitudes. To free a daughter of gender barriers, parents are advised to bring her up like she’s one of the boys. For 100 years the Boy Scouts of America provided a haven for boys to hang out with other guys and escape the sexual tensions of mixed-gender activities. Bowing to political correctness, the BSA now welcomes girls, depriving boys of valuable male-bonding experiences.
Target has made their toys “gender neutral,” eliminating signs that designate a section as having toys for boys or toys for girls. Once, I might have been convinced this is a positive step. I didn’t want to trap our daughter in a stereotypical role. When she was 8, we gave her a construction set. She never played with it and eventually she gave it to her brother.
Science confirms that male and female brains are different from birth. A woman’s strengths can be a nice complement to those of her domestic partner and male co-workers, or vice versa.
We are equal, but we’re not the same.
Leah Cavanaugh is president of Auburn Area Republican Women Federated. If you agree with my positions, you will find like-minded women and men at our meetings, the third Friday of the month, 11:30 a.m., Auburn Elks Lodge. You can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.