July 24, 2014
Ithaca, NY 61°F | Rain

Blogs

The State of the (female) Union

My god, can the President give a speech.  I’m more than willing to be that he could motivate a group of humans to accomplish things just by reciting words of inspiration.  If only the members of Congress were human…but I digress (I joke, I joke).

As a young woman, naturally my ears perked up during Tuesday’s State of the Union address when President Obama began to refer to the female population.  I would hazard to guess that this was addressed in light of Senator Rand Paul’s comments last week on the “war on women,” in an effort to make himself and his party more appealing to the ladies of the USA.

Obama began this portion of his speech by noting the unequal pay that women receive in comparison to men (77 cents for every dollar earned by a man) and declared, “That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work…It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode,” although I don’t appreciate the knock against one of my favorite shows ever.  I’m watching it as I type and I am loving it.

However, I must admit, I’m a little disappointed in this part of the speech.  President Obama said the word “woman” a mere nine times (only five of which had anything to do with this problem) using the fact that women generally work low-income jobs as a springboard for his next point – that the minimum wage should be higher, in which he gave an example of men working these low paying jobs.  Sure, raising the minimum wage is a good thing (I make minimum here on campus and a raise is always lovely), but that doesn’t address why women are in these low-income positions.  Please instead tell me how we can change this.  The real issue for women isn’t the fact that minimum wage is too low, the issue is that women are getting stuck in those jobs.

Mr. President, if you’re truly embarrassed about the way women are treated in the workplace, let’s talk about a way to fix it.  Don’t use the word “woman” as a buzzword for the sake of satisfying a voter base.