Women at work

This week had a discussion that’s been in the pipe for a long time.  I must admit, I saw very little of the coverage of Hillary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

I think it should be obvious that what she meant was paid work outside the home, but that’s too easy.  Republicans went on the offensive, so now it’s Democrats who are somehow ‘anti-woman’.  As Digby has noted, the point isn’t that the Romneys are extremely wealthy and well-off, which many Democrats are toying with, laughing about, etc.  This does about zero for our cause, in my opinion.  The point is that all of Romney’s policies are designed to benefit and further enrich people just like him, not the middle class or simply the broadest slice of the population.

To the point, the vast majority of women in this country don’t have the luxury to choose between “working” at a paid job, or “working” at home raising children.  In most other industrialized countries, women are provided either free or low-cost daycare, or they are directly compensated after giving birth, anywhere from 3 months to a year, sometimes for both parents, at a reduced but still substantial (70%) wage.  The US? Very little.   It took until all of 1993 for us to join the civilized world, when we gave women optional unpaid leave, meaning you could take time off for being pregnant, and not be fired.

I suppose this reflects our ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality, as single mothers now may choose to take time off for frivolous things such as creating life.  Lifetime limits on welfare (2 years), forcing them to “work” (as Mitt Romney says, “mothers need to learn the dignity of work”) outside the home as well as inside, large cuts in nutritional aid, job training and all other programs that may help the lazy and shiftless (mostly children, remember) must get the axe.  Free money to banks and billionaires, however is untouchable.  Wouldn’t want to get our priorities mixed up, now would we?

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