To cure poverty, empower women

Written by: Editorial

During the most recent presidential election cycle, pundits on both sides of the political aisle insisted that voters paid too much attention to “social issues” and not enough attention to economic issues. The truth is that the “social issues” often are economic issues, a fact made clear in our cover page story on the forces driving prostitution in our home town of Trenton, NJ.

In Hanna Rosin’s recent book The End of Men she argues that women in the United States are enjoying increased standing in society in part because they now make up the majority of those going to college and earning degrees at every level. It is certainly true that more women are going to college and graduating in greater numbers than men –even at Mercer, the student body is 54 percent female– but the status of women in this country is nowhere near as positive as Rosin would have us believe.

There is, in fact, a war being waged against women. Red states have been working hard to curtail access to abortion and contraception through a variety of duplicitous means such as im- posing mandatory vaginal ultra- sounds for those seeking an abortion (yes, we’re looking at you, Virginia), forcing women to pay for their own forensic testing kits after a rape (Alaska), and shutting down abortion clinics that cannot meet building codes suited for research hospitals (Kansas).

On the one hand, it might seem we can take comfort that Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment and former senator Todd Aiken’s “legitimate rape” notion didn’t lead to them getting elected, and women helped give Obama a substantial margin of victory in the presidential election.

But plenty of right-wing, misogynist nut-jobs found there way back into office, including Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachman and others. There is a broad faction that maintains significant power and seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade and ensure that women enjoy no reproductive autonomy. Oddly, this is a group that also puts great faith in free market capitalism. In attempting to cur- tail women’s rights, they are act- ing against their own interests.

“The best known cure for poverty that we’ve come up with is something called the empowerment of women,” said Christopher Hitchens, the late columnist, and author of The Missionary Position, in a 2010 interview with Jeremy Paxman.

“If you give women control over their cycle of reproduction, you don’t keep them chained to an animal cycle…” Hitchens said. His point is a simple one and one that has been borne out: when a country liberates women, that country is able to enjoy economic prosperity.

An article in AARP The Journal entitled, “Women As Economic Drivers,” by Melanne Verveer cites a Goldman Sachs study showing that “a reduction in barriers to female labor force participation would increase the size of America’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 9 percent, the Euro Zone’s by 13 percent, and Japan’s by 16 percent.”

There is no shortage of additional data that backs up these claims. According to a study done by the Guttmacher institute, which seeks to “advance sexual and reproductive health through research, policy analysis and public education,” 64 percent of those surveyed said that being able to take birth control allowed them to keep their current jobs or have a career.

The study also said that “Every dollar spent to provide publicly funded family planning services saves almost $4 that would otherwise have to be spent on pregnancy-related care for the woman and medical care during the first year of the infant’s life.”

But as the empowerment of women reduces poverty, the disenfranchisement of women corresponds to economic ruin.

Women in Trenton are not becoming prostitutes because they wake up one day and think “Oh, that looks like fun.” They are trapped by poverty and surrounded by violence.

As Mercer expands its Trenton campus, perhaps it will make education available to some of the women who want to get off the streets. But the college will be forced to grapple with the social traumas and economic pressures facing these women. Mercer will have to decide if it will provide the kinds of health and child care services needed to ensure that our women can make it to class and stay in college long enough to graduate and have a chance at a better life.

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly
Share this:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumbler Email

Tags: , ,

Editorial
Editorials represent a consensus viewpoint of the editorial board of The College VOICE.
advert

Comments are closed.

The First Amendment is under attack at Mercer

Mercer’s Human Resources department has emailed all college faculty and staff a link to a mandatory online compliance training and […]

Puerto Rican Parade and Immigration thoughts at Trenton

After seven years without any parade, Puerto Ricans celebrated their heritage and culture with their traditional parade and Boricua Festival […]

DACA recipients and their worries for their future

Bumba Bat is a recent Rutgers graduate who lives in Ewing Township. His family brought him to the United States […]

Faculty art exhibition at The Gallery

Students had the opportunity to view their professors artwork at The 2017 Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition at The Gallery starting […]

Women’s Soccer: freshmen shine in wet season opener

Chilling rain and 13 mph winds weren’t enough to dampen Mercer’s first major home game for the women’s soccer team this past […]

Russian American in the Age of Trump – The Human Cost of Nationalism and Fear – Part II

One night in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, when I was 5, the police came. This wasn’t anything new considering my mom […]

Mexican in the Age of Trump – The Human Cost of Nationalism and Fear – Part I

My home town is Chihuahua, Mexico just four hours away from the border between Juarez and El Paso, Texas. I […]

Asbury Park – A revival of arts and economy at the shore

    This article is part of The VOICE’s DAY OUT series that takes readers on photographic adventures to interesting […]

In faculty contract fight months of negotiations fail to end stalemate over pay and benefits

Students have seen signs posted on faculty office doors and in windows saying, “No Contract, but Still Working” but what […]

If the college prioritizes maintenance and cleanliness students will follow suit

Mercer has a beautiful campus that reflects our vibrant community of students and staff, which is why it frustrates me […]

With on-campus daycare unavailable, students must look elsewhere

Every semester it becomes more important for students to complete their degrees and graduate in the time frame they planned. […]

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.
Social links powered by Ecreative Internet Marketing