Women's Issues

Obama’s State Of The Union Speech Reminds Us Women We Are Still Pretty Screwed

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US-POLITICS-STATE OF THE UNION-OBAMAI know it’s the job of the President to bring some optimism and hope to citizens with his State of the Union speech. I know we need to be reminded of the things that have been accomplished rather than focusing on what hasn’t. But the only thing the State of the Union succeeded in doing for me last night – was reminding me that we really haven’t come a long way, baby.

Today, women make up about half our workforce.  But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. 

This. Can you believe this is still something we are even talking about?

She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. 

Tell that to everyone who is treated like they are getting “special privileges” when they are “allowed” to care for a sick child. Tell that to all the women who have sacrificed career for children, because the whole “having it all” idea is total bullshit in a country where there is no legislated paid maternity leave.

It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.  This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

President Obama may have well been saying – This year, let’s all come together and slide down rainbows and ride unicorns into the sunset. The idea of Congress doing anything to move this country forward has become a total joke. Also – how can women expect “equal opportunities” when we aren’t even being given the opportunity to make decisions about our own bodies?

If all this wasn’t depressing enough, we were reminded that “women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs” for good measure.

I’m not bashing our President. I was excited to vote for him – twice. It’s just that this whole farce of acting like we aren’t totally screwed is really wearing on me. Forget all the women’s issues – I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around how all of the people who have been suffering through unemployment are making it work. I had a period of low employment around the time my second child was born last year that lasted about three months. It put me in a hole that I can barely climb out of – and I have a stable income.

We’re fighting for a minimum wage that is still not livable. You try running a household on $404 a week before taxes, and see how far that gets you. I guess farther than $290, which is what a 40-hour work week on minimum wage pays now. Can you imagine working 40 hours for $290? I can’t.

For me, the Affordable Care Act was the bright, shining light in the speech last night – because I am able to afford insurance that isn’t a total joke for the first time in a long time. That is huge.

So, to recap – women are still screwed, there’s an executive order being signed to raise the minimum wage for federal workers under new contracts that we’re hoping the states will catch onto as well, the Affordable Care Act is great, Congress needs to stop being worthless and “the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth.”

Even my jaded self can feel good about that last statement.

(photo: Getty Images)