Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Security Moms

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women

"This year, Ms. Lake said, the gap between how married and single women expect to vote is greater than it has ever been, largely because of the emergence of what analysts call 'security moms,'' who tend to be white, married women who have children and who are fearful of another attack within the United States. 'Security moms' are an outgrowth of the 'soccer moms' who had emerged in previous elections as important swing voters. But soccer moms tended to live mainly in the suburbs and could vote either way. Security moms live everywhere and are leaning Republican"

Now I wonder: is the gap between single women and married women a consequence of the moms' instinct to seek out a strong male protector for their young, as this article suggests (though not in so many words) or their failure fully to appreciate the extent to which Bush's policies handicap them.

Most married women work outside the home, but relatively few are breadwinners. Even if they are de facto locked into the labor force, many regard their work as an optional extra, don't regard their work as essential to their family's survival, don't expect to earn wages comparable to their husbands', and don't worry about wage gaps or discrimination in the way that single women, particularly unmarried female heads of households, must. That isn't to say that they wouldn't respond if these issues were brought to their attention.

If Kerry is worried about losing his female base why doesn't he make a strong case on the bread and butter issues that affect the majority of women? Why doesn't he say, ladies, you know as well as I do that discrimination is a fact of life: there are jobs you cannot get, promotions you will not get and wages you forfeit just because you are female. Changing this is not an impossible dream: it is feasible with the aggressive enforcement of existing regulations prohibiting discrimination. I will not let firms get away with flouting these regulations. I will agressively work to promote equity in the workplace. Discrimination is not only bad for women--it's bad for business and bad for the economy and I will work to make fair and equal treatment a reality.

Why not?

I just find the suggestion in the article that (married) women across the country, urban and suburban, are shaking in their shoes in fear of terrorist attacks offensive. What percentage of women? The article doesn't say. It's insulting: it assumes that women are cowards.


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