In America, Women Have Little To Celebrate on International Women's Day

via Flickr’s will+hybridRedTracker| I’m happy to read Nancy Folbre’s International Women’s Day column for the NYTimes. Folbre shares four important surveys that track women worldwide. Honestly we tend to follow the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equity Index and will broaden our analysis to cover all four.

Folbre reinforces a major theme of Anne of Carversville, reminding American women that in all four indexes of the world’s women, American women are not in the top 10. 

As we speak, India is moving to insure that one-third of seats in Parliament will go to women because there is no belief — probably based on studying the US — that women will be represented in politics by other women, without quotas. Yes, there was a backlash today in India, but the government still believes it can pass the act in the next day or two.

One of the major arguments of younger women in the Clinton/Obama primary faceoff was that men can represent women’s interests as well as women. Frankly I was stupified over their position, which isn’t to say that there aren’t certain women in Congress that I would like to see banished from the steps of the Capitol and men who get a big hug.

Probably no woman has done more to derail the American women’s movement than Phyllis Schlafly. American women handed Schlafly our momentum, so I bear her no ill will.

It’s not for me to promote equality among American women, if it’s not our goal.

If American women want to hand back reproductive control to men, it will happen soon. When you equate yourselves as being equal to a fertilized egg —ignoring the reality that 1/3 of American women under 45 have had at least one abortion — you convey both a sense of your self-worth and respect for the patriarchy.

I’m not a pro-abortion woman for a moment. But I am pro woman, and I do not believe that any living, breathing, educated woman is equal to a fertilized egg. Shoot me dead. I apologize but I do not agree with the hypothesis. Basically, the US Supreme Court agreed with me, so I have a few allies.

Just remember that the patriarchy doesn’t want you to have birth control either. Protecting yourself from AIDS with a condom is also disallowed. Perhaps birth control will be banned in America by 2025? A law nearly passed in Utah last week — passed in both houses and derailed by the governor — making miscarriage a felony by anyone who wanted to make the case.

Without dispute you could be taken to court by your husband for falling on the ice and miscarrying. “My husband would never do that?” good women cried. Ah yes, the “trust me” argument. It’s a bit like the rhythm method.

It we want to men to take care of us in Congress, they’re happy to do so. A pathetic 16% of Congress seats are occupied by women. There’s no sense that women want to increase our representation. Even young ‘feminists’ say ‘good men’ can do just as well for women.

I envision a day in the future when America is in the bottom-third of countries worldwide, in terms of gender equity. We will lead the bottom third or bring up the rear of the middle. Soon we will lead the middle dropping out of the top third in political representation.

Women in other countries remain engaged in women’s rights, fighting for quotas of representation in business and government, while America women are good girls, believing that the essence of our freedom is not rocking the boat and definitely not uttering the heresy word ‘quotas’.

Back to Nancy Folbre’s four indicators. It’s the Scandinavian women who are lightyears ahead of the American women in gender equity. Countries formerly behind America — like France — are dancing circles around us and now lead us in most gender equity measures.

When the Teaparty movement says they want to go back to the founding days of the country, I’m wondering if slavery is reinstituted and women lose the vote. Both the Conservatives and America’s younger women seem very happy to give back the rights boomer women worked so hard to achieve for us.

I admit that this vision of American women wasn’t the one I had when I marched for women’s rights. We all know that my relations with men are superb, but I did envision life in 2010 with more women in top business roles and politics.

Much of the choice to stay in second place by most measures has been women’s. I don’t blame American men for one moment. It’s not as if we’re fighting or insisting, lobbying of making news, and men are refusing us.

Women in other countries feel more strongly about emancipation than the American women. And so they will have their days of triumph and we will bring up the rear. Rights must always be guarded, protected and advanced. Sarah Palin will tell you these truths too.

When the basic premise is that we don’t even need women in government, when we don’t scream bloody murder that in almost 10 years, the government can’t figure out how to get the 5% of government contracts earmarked for women into women’s hands, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

American women seek ‘fairness’ without engagement, because … . gender equity is the right thing to do?? We’re entitled? Forgive me but the rest of the world is disproving the merits of our age-old argument that patience is the virtue on this subject.

Freedom comes to those who demand it with leaders who play an aggressive poker game. Securing freedom may not be a game for good girls terribly concerned about their reputations — or those who define freedom as the right to be a ‘slut girl’ if you wish.

Sorry, while I support women’s sexual freedom in terms of partners, I’m more concerned about our self-worth and broader vision of womanhood.

Mrs. Schlafly who has more traditional view of women’s roles in America has beaten me. Admittedly, she is an infuriatingly worthy opponent.

I’m not suggesting that no progress is made for women in America. I’m saying that we’re absolutely not keeping pace with the rest of the world. Gender equity and freedom for women is lip service in this country, compared to other nations.

So Happy International Women’s Day, my dear women readers but there’s absolutely no reason to celebrate in America. We’re getting eactly what we asked for — which is not very much. Anne