Don’t overlook womens’ rights

Janie Simonton | Chronicle Alumni Class of 2011

My junior year at Mason, I sat in Paul Reedy’s American Government class with an eighteen-question survey in front of me. Each question offered an opinion about various political issues, and we were supposed to mark whether we agreed or disagreed. After we had taken it, we found out the survey was designed to have nine conservative opinions and nine liberal, and a tally of our “yes”s and “no”s revealed to us our party affiliations. In an incredibly close race, liberal politics won me over, 10 to 8.

Although my left-leaning tendencies have grown drastically since that day in B212, my aim behind this column is not to shame all conservative ideologies nor wildly promote liberal ones from a voter’s perspective. Rather, I want to explore the situation from a woman’s perspective.

As a woman, I cannot fathom why anyone else in this country who identifies as a woman would support the Romney/Ryan campaign.

Strong words, I know, but let me redeem myself: you could be a fiscally and socially conservative woman who supports this fall’s Republican campaign on every platform, and that’s fine. Awesome that you’re informed and have chosen to take a stand. But when it comes to you voting for someone that could aim to take away your own rights, I feel that I will fundamentally never be able to understand you.

In an infographic released on August 14 (found at, Ultraviolet, a community devoted to fighting sexism, listed five fast facts concerning Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, and women. While Ryan voted or expressed views opposing a plethora of women’s rights, he also literally voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the act, it fights for equal wages for men and women, abolishing the wage gap. Girls reading this now: if you’re reading this, you probably go to Mason, which is a great school with great college preparation programs, and you’re probably working hard to take advantage of those college prep programs. Once Mason has sent you to college, you’ll work just as hard there as you did in high school, presumably because you’ll go to a good college offering you good post-grad job opportunities. Then, imagine, once you get that job, working as hard as you did in both college and high school to earn money to sustain your family, and still knowing that the man who shares a cubicle with you is earning approximately $1.00 to every $0.75 you make.

And the potential right-hand man to the leader of the free world encourages this. And bills that, if passed, would forbid hospitals from giving a woman an abortion even if she would die without one, even in cases of rape and incest. And the defunding of Planned Parenthood. And the outlaw of forms of birth control. And—how’s this for irony?—the in vitro fertilization that created Mitt Romney’s grandchildren and probably lots of you.

So, if you’re conservative, stay conservative. That’s fine. But, please, ladies, before you vote, ask yourself if you really want to use your vote to oppress yourself.


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