Afternoon Jolt: Not a Great Day for the Ladies

By Erica C. Barnett March 2, 2011

We couldn't come up with any winners on this fairly grim political day (the vote on Seattle Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles' medical marijuana dispensaries bill—which is likely to pass—was supposed to come up today, but the senate is currently adjourned until 7), so we're just going with a loser today.

And it's brought to you by The C is for Crank.

Today's loser: American women.

First, this morning, the Obama Administration issued its annual White House Report on Women , which found that women who work full-time now make 75 percent of what men who work full-time make. That pay gap persists at every level of education, with women continuing to make up the majority of low-paid jobs (teachers, nurses, service workers). In fact, one-fifth of all women were employed in just five occupations: secretaries, registered nurses, elementary school teachers, cashiers, and nursing aides. And not surprisingly, women continued to spend more time than men on housework, cooking, and child care.

Meanwhile, around the nation---from Wisconsin (where controversial anti-labor Gov. Scott Walker proposed repealing a law requiring companies to provide contraception, arguing that it would cost other health-insurance subscribers, i.e. men, too much money (!)), to Texas, Georgia, and Ohio (where anti-choice activists are pushing to ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, as early as 18 days after conception), to Nebraska (which is considering legislation to reclassify killing abortion providers as "justifiable homicide"---in defense of fetuses, natch), to Florida, where legislators are debating a ban on any insurance coverage for abortions, to the US House, which just voted to cut all funding for Planned Parenthood and is considering legislation to give private insurance companies a huge financial disincentive to cover abortions.

At least there's some encouraging news locally: There was a solid Planned Parenthood rally this weekend.

Photo by Sean Balch, 2011

And in Olympia, we can be proud that our legislature isn't considering any bills to declare embryos people, take away women's contraceptive options, or encourage the killing of abortion providers. Instead, our legislators are considering a bill that would protect rape victims from having to answer questions from their alleged rapists (that bill is currently in the senate judiciary committee), one that would requires anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" to disclose that they don't provide abortions or other medical services (it's in the senate rules committee), and one that would place the burden of proof for withdrawing a domestic-violence restraining order on the abuser, not the victim (that one just passed the house yesterday).
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