Professor Marjorie Griffin Cohen, a brilliant researcher at SFU suggests that women should vote against any government that introduces policies that harm women. What does that mean? Here are a few practical examples from her recent Op Ed in the Vancouver Sun (17 Dec 12) merged with my ideas:
Minimum wage. When governments change the minimum wage women are most affected. This is beacause women earn less than men and predominate among low-wage workers. Women fill retail or factory jobs that pay the minimum wage, which for ten years was only $8/hr. In 2011 BC Premier Clark finally changed it to $10.25/ hr. yet this is still below a living wage.
Treatment of Public sector. Because so many women work in the public sector (e.g. teachers and nurses) when a government privatizes, refuses to bargain fairly, or refuses wage increases, more women are impacted.
Legal funding. When a government chooses to limit legal aid to the poor and not fund lawyers in divorce cases more women are affected. This is because many married women do not have an income-paying job and are often the parent who takes care of the children. Thus women do not have money to hire a lawyer to get the support they are entitled to at law.
Programs that support women. When a government decides to cut programs and limit funding for things like violence prevention, human rights and equality, women are dramatically affected. These programs (which were fought hard for) are created for the very purpose of remedying a societal problem that would not go away without government support.
Governments make all sorts of decisions about where to spend our tax dollars. These are hard decisions. So if we want to have women supported properly, we should vote to reflect this.