Obama on Women? Let's Examine the Record
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 04:09
Last week, Khadija Davis wrote an impassioned column (“On Election Day, Only One Man for Women,” The Hoya, A3, Sept. 21, 2012) about President Obama’s superior stance on women’s issues. As a Republican woman, I feel this argument has become tiresome. It is not that I don’t recognize the inequities in today’s society. I just do not believe Obama has moved this country forward as it pertains to helping women. The best way to be pro-women is to be pro-growth in our economy, our schools and our health care, not in our government.
So how has President Obama failed women? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, right before President Obama took office, the unemployment rate for women was 5.4 percent. In 2009, Obama’s first year on the job, the unemployment rate for women jumped to over 8 percent. In 2010, that number went up again to 8.6 percent. These statistics do not even take into account the women who gave up looking for jobs.
In simple terms, women have not thrived under this president, and insisting that the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a great win for women’s rights is disingenuous. That law is not about fair pay — it’s about lawsuits. It doesn’t address equal pay for equal work. It merely extends the statute of limitations for suing one’s employer.
Then we come to education policy. As young college women, I think we can rally behind good educational policy that opens doors to women. The United States is among the highest-spending countries on education, yet in a recent 2012 report from Harvard University’s Program on Education and Governance, the United States ranks 25th, 17th and 14th in math, science and reading scores, respectively. The study also found we have not made recent significant gains in education when compared to 49 top-producing countries.
The problem with Obama’s approach to education is that he spends billions of dollars to patch the problem but is unwilling to consider real reform. This policy is a triple disaster: It spends money we don’t have, fails to solve the issue and gets in the way of actual change. When he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney oversaw over some of the top-ranked public schools in the nation. He will take the same policies he implemented as governor and apply them to our schools across the country.
Next, we have Obama’s signature health care law. While Republicans are quick to shoot the bill down, it should be noted that they also support health care reform that benefits women, just not this kind. As women, we want a say about whether or not we buy something, and Obamacare takes away that choice. Furthermore, as we found out only recently, the Congressional Budget Office’s original projections for the bill were wrong. The CBO now estimates that about six million people will have to pay the penalty for not having health care. Eighty percent of these people are in the middle class and will pay close to $7 billion in penalties. Economic freedom and a good economy help women. This constricting health care law does not.
I find it hard to believe that the president and Democrats have the higher ground when it comes to women’s issues. Today, there are five female governors in the United States, four of whom are Republicans. Furthermore, it was the Republican candidate for president in 2008 who ran with a woman. Obama had the opportunity to run with a woman on his ticket, but he turned it down.
The current presidency has saddled the country with a deficit that will wreak havoc on our generation, spending that is out of control and a tax plan that resembles something from the Stone Age. Ladies, as a nation, we rank sixth among the most female-friendly G20 countries, according to TrustLaw, and the UN Gender Inequality Index ranks the United States as .299 — a figure that is relatively high. For a nation that holds itself up as an example of democracy and women’s rights, this is simply unacceptable. President Obama has failed for four years to make a difference for women; he does not deserve four more.
Katie Bolas is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.