April 16 2013
The Real War on Women: Big Government’s Failures
The Washington Times reported Sunday that the groundwork for a great feminist resurgence is already in place. The article notes Kay Hymowitz’ prediction that the “War on Women” rhetoric will increase exponentially in the 2016 election. Hymowitz adds “you can probably see already that the ground is being prepared for a real women’s election.”
Will feminism experience a glorious comeback? I think not. Despite renewed efforts to get women to “lean in” to their careers and away from their children, and even despite the War on Women rhetoric in the last election, feminism is not likely to resurrect itself any time soon. Feminism is dying because Big Government has failed to keep its end of the bargain.
The original agreement was that the federal government would partner with working women to help them achieve a healthy balance between work interests and family responsibilities. But the government has failed profoundly on that measure. Many women have now come to conclude that government schooling and childcare are no longer viable options. Fifty years ago, it was possible for young women to conceive of a world where they could, in good conscience, leave their children in the helpful hands of the government from infancy to age eighteen. It is now painfully obvious to both liberal and conservative women that the public school and childcare systems are in shambles.
The GOP should seize this issue and run with it. In addition to failing public schools, jobs are few and far between in the Obama economy, and young couples are often forced to seek opportunity far away from the natural support structure of grandparents, aunts and uncles. Tax policy penalizes women who decide to work for themselves or part-time in order to raise their children.
It is harder than ever for working women to raise their children, as the natural support system of extended family has vanished, and the artificial support structure of the federal government is of such poor quality that women choose to avoid it whenever possible. Women of means put their children into private schools, and, as Charlotte notes in her blog post, a high percentage of Ivy League graduates are choosing to stay at home with their young ones. If the nation’s most privileged and intelligent women are rejecting the liberal dogma that a women’s place is in the workforce, and a child’s place is with the government, then the feminist movement is doomed.