October 17 2012

Obama Fails to Connect to Women's Concerns

Emily Wismer

 

Last night, both presidential candidates had similar goals: Romney needed to maintain his momentum and convince the media he could convince single women to vote for him. Obama wanted to regain the momentum he lost and convince the media he could keep the support of women who have been increasingly turning away from him, according to the latest polls.

The trick is this: as my colleague Hadley Heath has skillfully pointed out, women are not a voting block; we’re half the population, and the President’s representation of our goals was very one dimensional:

In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Because this is not just a — a health issue, it’s an economic issue for women.

He almost had it. Women DO care about the economy, but the economy goes far beyond whether the economy forces employers to pay for birth control. So what impact will Obama’s policy have on the economy?
Organizations that refuse to provide free birth control, regardless of whether or not it is against their religion, will face fines totaling $100 per day per person or up to $2,000 per person per year. This will be a large economic burden to many employers.

More importantly, the Presidents policies have actually resulted in fewer women participating in the workforce nationwide. Nearly two percent less women are either looking for jobs or working than in June of 2009. Is this a president who has promoted a strong economy for women?

Counting people who have either given up looking for work because they cannot find it and those who have taken part-time work because they can’t find fulltime work, the real unemployment rate is 14.7 percent and remained unchanged last month.

The President claimed, “We do not tolerate discrimination. That’s been one of the highlights of my administration.” Yet it is and has been illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace for decades. This did not come as a result of anything done by this President, but from the hard work our grandmothers who fought hard to have an equal position in employment and society.

Women don’t just think of themselves as “women” – we are citizens who will take into account the full range of issues that confront our country, and that will include the President’s sorry economic record.

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