GenderGappers 2005 – 039
CHIP, CHIPPING AWAY
It’s not the frontal assaults that have hurt us but the constant nibbling at the edges of our hard won Civil Rights. Perhaps you have noticed how women’s reproductive self determination has been limited, bit by bit.
Roe v Wade was a long time coming; its departure may be only a few more nibbles away as former cases to limit that “settled law”, previously turned down, are re-brought to a new and imbalanced Supreme Court.
A court that will have new members nominated by Bush who talks a big deal about women’s rights, but actually has been actively working to limit them. Oh, yes, there are women in his cabinet; his mother, Barbara and Laura are influences, but don’t be fooled.
For all his talk both Afghanistan and Iraq have limited women’s rights, not extended them and he just gave us his pick for Chief Justice who makes it plain in his decisions that women should be discouraged when it comes to careers outside the home.
And that’s just one of his attitudes, shared with Bush, that indicate his determination to bring this country back into the 19th Century. Women are not the only target. We have already noted the slow erosion of labor union’s power to support worker’s rights.
Taking advantage of the huge damage caused by Katrina, the Bushies are suspending a series of regulations that had guaranteed the going local wage, and affirmative action for minorities, while offering tax incentives for businesses in the affected region.
The assault of this government is against the poor, the working class and the needy. Bush has tried to eliminate Social Security, so necessary to many, and will certainly continue to chip away at who receives it and how it is administered until he kills the program.
Don’t expect an all out shock and awe campaign mounted against Title IX and XI. It will be slow and insidious. Already scholarships for women are being curtailed and the cracks in the glass ceiling are being filled in.
Appointments of women to federal positions by Bush are more often than not political paybacks for men who have given money to his campaigns. Some are as scary as the former head of FEMA who recently resigned following the debacle of Katrina.
Washington, DC — FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford has appointed a man who has spent the majority of his career in the office of veterinary medicine to the position of acting director of the Office of Women's Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Norris Alderson will replace Dr. Susan Wood, a key women's health expert, who resigned on August 31 in protest of the FDA's handling of the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter.
Now while tempers flare as officials and politicians look for cover, women’s protective laws in our society were brought forth as whipping boys. The slowness of volunteer fire fighters to reach New Orleans was blamed on laws to protect women. FEMA held them up in Atlanta so they could take classes on sexual harassment and community relations.
The White House claimed that its slowness to respond was due to Bush fearing the repercussions if he overruled a female mayor. The facts belie this but this excuse is still in the talking points as the reason Bush was slow to react.
In other words, the troubles caused by Katrina were compounded by the laws passed to insure women fairness in the workplace. There is action on the way to make this precedent for abolishing these laws. If an employer is charged with harassment, just claim an emergency situation.
More little drops of court appointment water grinding down the edifice of fairness build up by the struggles of brave women will continue just as long as women sit by and let it.
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