Last week, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made some — ahem — controversial comments regarding the Democrats' supposedly patronizing stance on the female libido. “Republicans don’t have a war on women,” Huckabee proclaimed to his GOP buds. “They have a war for women.”On Meet The Press Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) went one step further, arguing that the war on women doesn't even exist. Citing his own family's professional success as proof, he even added that it's the guys we should actually be really worried about, because the women are "outcompeting the men." So...yah.
This whole sort of war on women thing, I’m scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won. You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful. I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85% of the young people there are women. Law school, 60% are women. In med school, 55%. My younger sister is an OB-GYN with six kids and doing great. I don’t see so much that women are downtrodden. I see women rising up and doing great things. In fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women are outcompeting the men in our world ....
Head, meet wall. Now bash.
The women in my family are doing great. That’s what I see in all the statistics coming out. I have, you know, young women in my office that are the leading intellectual lights of our office. So I don’t really see this, that there’s some sort of war on women that’s, you know, keeping women down. I see women doing great and I think we should extol that success and not dumb it down into a political campaign that somehow one party doesn’t like women or that. I think that’s what’s happened. It’s all been for political purposes.
Let's do a quick recap here. Since this summer, we've seen the Texas legislature essentially curtail women’s access to legal abortion, Paul Ryan's "conscience clause" added to health care legislation, the New York Times calling Lena Dunham fat and Wendy Davis being called "abortion Barbie." We learned that over half of young mothers are single-handedly supporting both themselves and their children (while also fighting for breastfeeding rights), and yet that women make up almost two-thirds of the minimum wage workers across the United States.
The median amount of money a full-time woman employee will earn is still less than her male counterpart; and although, yes, women represent a high percentage of college graduates, the lack of benefits and wage increases has meant that they’re much more likely to work pink-collar jobs.
As to the GOP's own particular relationship with women, well, Bustle has a whole list of why it's less than peachy. Republicans continue to try to limit women's ability to control their own bodies, from pledging to get rid of Planned Parenthood — the sole source of health care for many low-income women — to instituting mandatory ultrasounds for women trying to get abortions. In 2011, congressional Republicans refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act, with this year seeing the GOP only just voting to reauthorize it— meaning that a whole lot of Republicans in Congress voted against it. Again.
Yes, women are doing great things (the fact that Paul thinks this is a surprising new trend is vaguely distressing). It would just be better if the majority of American women weren't dealing with a continuing onslaught of legislation that exacerbates inequality, making it harder for them to keep doing those great things.