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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 31, 2014

 
If GOP wants to attracts working women they'd better change their tune on contraception

by digby

My piece for Salon today is about the GOP's silly "War for Women".
Yesterday, high-ranking Republican woman Cathy McMorris Rogers unveiled a bold new campaign to reach out to the half of the population the GOP has been trying to keep broke, barefoot and pregnant. And to prove that they are the party of business and branding, Republicans even came up with a scorching new slogan that’s destined to set the meme-world on fire:

“The War for Women.”

That’s right, they’ve cleverly declared that they are not, as is widely assumed, waging a war on the fairer sex — it’s actually all for them. So now the GOP is fighting against those who are saying it’s a war on women. No wait. It’s a war among women, against the people who say they are fighting for them…?

Well, you get the picture. There’s a war. They’re fighting it. And it has something to do with women.

And Cathy McMorris Rogers knows exactly how to get that message across:
You think about a changing 21st-century workforce and how women make up half of our workforce. Fifty percent are the primary income earners in their households. They are making the majority of purchasing decisions — 80, 85 percent of purchasing decisions – yes, women like to shop.

You betcha! And not just for shoes, either. (But let one run wild in a shopping mall for for an afternoon and they’ll mortgage the house and the car, amirite?)

Anyway, women are working and they are making money and they are buying things. Which means that something has changed since 1953 when Cathy McMorris Rogers was put into the cryogenic chamber from which she apparently emerged just this week. After all, this is hardly a recent phenomenon. Women have been flooding into the workforce for the past 40 years.
And boy are these Republicans missing the point:
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, ”government mandates outlawing discrimination against women in hiring and higher education” had a huge effect, as did the change in attitudes in society at large, thanks in large part to the feminist and civil rights movements.

But there was one other thing, above all else, that contributed to this change:

The birth control pill had the direct effect of reducing both the risk and the cost of having sex. It therefore also eliminated an important reason for early marriage, making investment in a career-oriented education more feasible.

Previous research on the effect of changes in state laws that allowed young women access to birth control pills suggests that it is strongly and positively related to both age at first marriage and the fraction of women pursuing professional careers. Because reliable contraception combined with changing social attitudes and laws making labor markets more hospitable, large numbers of women left traditional forms of female employment and sought careers. They are the reason that today’s commentators can have meaningful discussions about “women at the top.”
That’s certainly not something Cathy McMorris Rogers wants anyone to think about too deeply.

Read on ...

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