Did feminist groups derail the stimulus bill?
American women are resourceful. In the business world alone, women have racked up impressive gains, earning three times as many college degrees and doubling the female presence in the workplace compared to forty years ago. In the realm of entrepreneurship, the adult American female is leaving the male in her dust, starting up businesses four times faster than men.
But such progress leaves some feminists unimpressed. According to Christina Hoff Sommers, in 2009, when President Obama proposed massive construction industry-boosting "infrastructure" spending, women's groups "were appalled." (HT: Hans Bader)
Even though 80 percent of the 5.7 million jobs lost over the first eighteen months of the recession were held by men, cries for more jobs for women arose from a feminist group calling itself "WEAVE" (Women's Equality Adds Value to the Economy). The group's complaints were bolstered by the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, Institute for Women's Policy Research, and National Women's Law Center. Members of the super-coalition slammed Obama for pushing a "Macho Stimulus Plan" packed with "testosterone-laden 'shovel-ready'" lingo that focused on "jobs for burly men." Rumor has it that the ladies also objected to the President speaking in deep masculine tones when talking about shovels and stuff.
In a recent analysis, Hans Bader points out that even though much of Obama's 2009 $800 billion stimulus was originally targeted for projects such as road and bridge repairs, the stimulus got skewed toward social welfare spending after the afore-mentioned feminist groups demanded that Obama put more women to work.
In his Stimulus II-pushing September 8 joint-session address to Congress, the President himself admitted that, two years after Stimulus I, there are still "private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work." As a result of feminist outrage-driven redirection of funds from "shovel-ready" projects, Obama now aims his 2011 "American Jobs Act" at "[putting] more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working." This latest destined-to-fail Keynesian brainchild will allegedly "create more jobs for construction workers."
But jobs would be the last thing that anyone should look for from the web of illogic, misinformation, and tribalistic dogma that pervades women's groups' arguments. Gender "fairness" pusher and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis admits to huge gains by women in the workplace--at the expense of men--and then but a breath later calls for more help to close the "gender gap" between men and women. The feminist group, WEAVE, stares down evidence of men losing jobs at a rate four times faster than women and cries foul when government "stimulus" aims to restore the lost male jobs. Tribal credo, not reality, rules the gender warrior's thinking.
As Peter Schwartz points out in "Gender Tribalism,"
All forms of collectivism rest on a certain metaphysics. The collectivist tenets... that the group, not the individual has rights... that the judgment of an individual mind is subordinate to the collective consensus... stem from a deeper premise: that the individual is impotent to cope with reality. The individual, on this premise, cannot sustain [her] life on [her] own, and must depend upon the group for survival.
The bold-faced fact that women are not only coping with reality but outpacing men in the business world goes unnoticed by gender tribalists. The feminist collective strives to protect the female individual, who, judging by evidence, needs no protection. Proof that individual women are doing stunningly well does not deter the collective from the noble crusade.
Reality points to American women thriving without "help" from feminist groups. But if those groups were to acknowledge such truth, a herd of zealots would head off in search of a new mission. There is no telling which would be worse, the devil we know or the devil we don't know.
A writer, physicist, former high tech executive, and Cajun, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at http://www.chuckroger.com/. Contact Chuck at email@example.com.