Red v. Blue: Women’s Issues

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A weekly column in which Gettysburg’s College Republicans and College Democrats will engage in debate about issues in the news. 

By Corinne Day, President and Olivia Simmet, Gettysburg College Republicans

Since the Grand Old Party’s founding, Republicans have stood for the rights and freedoms of the individual. Republicans freed the slaves, led the fight for women’s suffrage, and ended segregation in schools and the military. No platform in the Republican Party’s history has ever included a “war on women” as the Democratic Party would have voters believe.

The GOP would be amiss if it did not acknowledge that some prominent conservatives have made ill-informed remarks that are in no way representative of the party’s belief or its support of women. The party has responded by better educating the men of the GOP on women’s issues and by seeking new candidates and problem-solvers who will be less destructive to women’s concerns than some incumbents.

Instances of insensitivity to a particular group are not issues isolated to the GOP. Vice President Biden has used outdated and incorrect terms such as the anti-Semitic “shylock,” and has recently referred to Asia as the “Orient,” an expression that Asian-American spokesman for the Republican National Committee Ninio Fetalvo declared “disrespectful,” “imperialist” and “offensive to both Asian- Americans and our Asian allies abroad.” This is not the only gaffe committed by the Democratic Party, but where are the cries of their war on minorities?

A defender of the Democratic Party could argue that these blunders are overridden by the efforts made by the Democrats to aid minorities. Then using the same reasoning, any claims of a Republican war on women are invalidated by the achievements made by GOP actions moving the country closer to gender equality. The Democratic Party, self-professed “crusaders” for women, focuses much of their strategy to pull in the female vote on the party’s efforts to make birth control and abortions readily available.

The Republican Party knows better. The GOP realizes that women’s issues are not limited to matters of female health, but that women’s issues are everyone’s issues; like unemployment, rising gas prices, a concern for taxing and spending, and other critical matters.

Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina (R) recognizes what women really need and what they are concerned with this election cycle. In an interview this August with theiowarepublican.com, Fiorina said, “We know that every issue is a women’s issue. That’s contrary to the Democrat propaganda that women care far more about reproductive rights [than anything else].”

The Republican Party is also focused on direct consequences of the Affordable Care Act. The healthcare reform act requires all companies to provide healthcare to any employee who works 30 hours or more a week. This policy is damaging to the economy as it discourages employers from hiring and retaining employees. In a hearing on the ACA before the House Ways and Means Committee, Dr. Lanhee J. Chen, Stanford University lecturer and Hoover Institute research fellow, said, “The 30-hour rule disproportionately affects women; in fact, 63% of those most at risk of lost hours are female.” The shortcomings of the ACA are a perfect illustration of a women’s issue that the Democratic Party would like voters to forget about. In this case, as with many others, the Republican Party is championing women’s interests and indeed the interests of all Americans as House Republicans have introduced the Save American Workers Act, an act which would reinstate the 40- hour work week, bringing more Americans and more women back to job security.

One of the greatest gender injustices today is the wage differential seen between men and women. On average, men are paid 22% more than women. No one can make the argument that women earn less because their intelligence is less, because they do not work as hard, or because they deserve less. So why are women still paid less? This problem is not limited to corporations and institutions resistant to change. The average male White House employee has a salary of $88,600, whereas the average female employee has a salary of $72,700 according to recent Washington Post salary analysis data. This 13 percent gap is less staggering than the national average, but one would not expect any gap in a White House controlled by the Democratic Party, the party that champions women’s rights.

In 2013, there were an estimated 8.6 million female-owned small businesses in the nation. This is a tremendous number that summons respect for the undaunted women that may have encountered double standards and sexism on the road to owning their businesses. Women face enough challenges working in the business world already without their country imposing further difficulties through the inefficiency of bureaucracy and excessive government regulations that hinder the success of men as well. Pat Tiberi (R), has recently introduced America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 in the House of Representatives. This act would enable businesses to deduct upfront costs of equipment and property. This relief to business owners would cause a trickle-down effect, allowing them to hire more employees, expand their business, perhaps produce more quality goods, and better the economy. By enabling more small businesses to take flight, the Republican Party is making the path to business a little bit easier for entrepreneurial women.

The Republican Party has been the leading force in the fight for equality throughout history and continues to do so today. Women’s issues are everyone’s issues and with this perspective at the forefront of decision making, conservative representatives can bring about a better way of life for not only women, but the country as a whole.

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Author: Isabel Gibson Penrose

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