Recent politics, both in Australia and in the US, have left me shaking my head.
And pounding the table.
I glimpsed an ad online for Barack Obama during the 2012 US elections. Young women and girls saying please vote for me…in that a vote for Obama would be a vote for women and women’s rights.
Because all that we women are concerned with are birth control and abortions, right? God forbid we have other issues on our mind, that we think about education or the economy.
Recently, too, in Australia, we have Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her team implying that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has a problem with women because, wait for it, he is deemed to be a conservative who makes statements such as “Abortion should be safe. legal and rare.” Oh. Again all we women care about is abortion.
Did the Opposition come out and say the obvious, that women’s'rights are important but are not based solely on reproductive issues? No, to prove their solidarity with women, we were regaled with stories on IVF and support for IVF. Because that’s what women want, that is all that women want, isn’t it?
As a woman, I find all this insulting.
I am a thinking person. I make a contribution to education, to the community, I struggle to balance a budget, to pay all my bills, to bring up children, to help my teen and young adult sons, to study, to balance my life. I have opinions about world affairs. Not just about contraception and abortion.
And don’t tell me that I am a privileged woman so of course I can say this, of course, therefore, I am not concerned solely with reproductive issues, that less fortunate women than I have to be concerned with these and these alone. Don’t tell me about the poor women in Third World countries. Don’t feed me this manure.
Women in Third World countries, and women living in poverty, don’t need us to help them abort their babies. They need food and work and education and thus a promise for a better future for their daughters and for their sons.
Let us also call a spade a spade and say that neither Obama, Gillard or Abbott are talking to Third World voters.
Too, I am less than privileged. I came from a poor single parent family, I worked hard to educate myself , I have a large family so I know the strains and joys of children, I work very hard to support my family, I am classed by the Australian Government as a low income earner and don’t own a house or use air conditioning or have two cars or other seeming luxuries of our Western world, I frankly am not sure about money for now and for my old age.
Reducing my issues, reducing women’s issues to contraception and abortion, to reproductive issues, denies some of the real issues we women face in the real world..time. education, self esteem, work, money.
And it denies my ability, women’s ability, to think and to care about both family and health issues and the wider political view.
I am more than my reproductive organs.
We women are more than this. We are mothers, we can be mothers, we care for family, but our most pressing issues are not contraception and abortion.They are education and work and money. Address these as women’s issues and don’t continue to put down the true rights and needs of women.