Politicians are Trying to Divide Women Over Feminism
In the U.S., only 61% of women describe themselves as feminists, and only 42% of Republican-leaning women describe themselves this way. Many Republicans have chosen to oppose feminism because it seems to imply support for the pro-choice movement. As a result of this idea, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a measure which would make all laws gender neutral, has not passed to this day. Furthermore, many people against abortion are not supporting feminism, and are consequently not supporting solutions to many issues women experience today.
Many feminist organizations have moved forward while excluding people of certain religious and political beliefs. During the past few years, for instance, the Women’s March has excluded pro-life groups from their rallies. This has harmed the feminist movement. Only 5% of Republicans are feminists and the ERA hasn’t passed because Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring up its deadline extension for a vote. Many Republicans oppose this Amendment, claiming it will expand abortion. These barriers to progress will not change if we continue to make the feminist movement a place where only some are welcome.
It is necessary to get past the notion that one can not be pro-life and a feminist. Throughout history, societies, including ours, have oppressed women by trying to divide us. It is ineffective for feminism to only fight for women with certain beliefs. All people need to come together to support women so we can work together towards mutually desirable goals such as the ERA. If both sides came together, they would discover that the ERA says nothing about abortion. In fact, many states which ratified it continue to restrict abortion.
Opponents of this bipartisan perspective claim that Republican political beliefs are inherently anti-woman. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the feminist movement will never achieve its goals if we reject all people who do not fit certain standards of moral purism. Furthermore, no social movement can be effective that only accounts for one perspective. Republicans may raise unique questions about feminism which strengthen the movement and help us more effectively achieve our goals.
Pro-choice and pro-life women are welcomed in the feminist movement. And for there to be a future of this movement, this needs to become the norm.
Barroso, Amanda, “61% of U.S. women say ‘feminist’ describes them well; many see feminism as empowering, polarizing.” Pew Research. 20 Jul. 2018. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/07/61-of-u-s-women-say-feminist-describes-them-well-many-see-feminism-as-empowering-polarizing/
Unkown Author, "FAQ — Equal Rights Amendment." Equal Rights Amendment. https://www.equalrightsamendment.org/faq
Green, Emma. “Women Are Not a Monolith.” The Atlantic. 19 Jan. 2019. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/fights-over-womens-march-and-march-life/580816/
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “House Votes to Extend Deadline to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment.” New York Times. 13 Feb. 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/us/politics/equal-rights-amendment.html
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Wagner, John. "Kellyanne Conway: Feminism associated with being ‘anti-male’ and ‘pro-abortion’.” Washington Post. 23 Feb. 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/23/kellyanne-conway-feminism-associated-with-being-anti-male-and-pro-abortion/