Republican National Convention 2012: GOP’s ‘War on Women’ rebuttal falls flat


Speakers at the Republican National Convention on Monday tried to rebut the Democrat’s attacks that the GOP is waging war against women.

For months, the Democrats have hammered the Republicans for pursuing policies that hurt women, who make up a large share of the moderate or independent “swing” voters that could decide the election in November. 

Rae Lynne Chorenky, President of the National Federation of Republican Women, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. SOURCE:

While the decision to have Ann Romney headline the convention’s opening night was a tacit move to appeal to women voters, the Republican Party also employed a more direct approach to dispel its anti-women image through surrogates like Rae Lynne Chorenky, President of the National Federation of Republican Women.

Chorensky attempted to divert attention away from the GOP’s recent string of misogynist positions – such as Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s claim that women cannot be impregnated via “legitimate rape” – by attacking the Democrats for not doing enough to heal the economy.

“We hear a lot from the media about the Republican’s ‘so-called’ war against women. Well, which women?” asked Chorenky. “Is it the 850,000 women who have lost their jobs under President Obama?…If there is a war against women, it is President Obama who has waged it.”

Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chorensky claimed that women lost “92% of all the jobs lost under the Obama Administration.”

However, Chorenky’s statements are misleading given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics data actually revealed the average unemployment rate for women has been 1% to 2% lower than men‘s. Unemployment rate for women was 8.6% in 2010 compared to 10.5% for men; in 2011, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.1% for women, down to 8.5%, and by nearly 1% for men, bringing men’s average unemployment rate down to 9.4%.

In addition, the Department of Labor noted that women are more likely than men to pursue careers in the public sector, which has come under severe budget cuts – and thus job losses – supported by Republican lawmakers since 2010.

Numbers aside, the Chorensky and the GOP’s employment-oriented rebuttal falls flat when voters consider how the party’s policies would affect women when it comes to their overall economic interests, retirement security, and health. These policies include:

  • Congressional Republicans’ opposition to equal pay for women who perform the same work as their male counterparts. Senate Republicans killed the Paycheck Fairness Act in June. Women still earn on average 23% less than men, which in the long-term forces women to be more dependent on federal programs like Social Security and Medicare because they’re unable to put more money toward their retirement.
  • The GOP’s proposal (spearheaded by vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) to convert Medicare into a voucher program, which means older women who require medicines and treatments for chronic health issues after menopause – such as osteoporosis (bone loss) and heart disease – will have to pay thousands of dollars more out-of-pocket each year than men.
  • The Republicans’ unrelenting efforts to repeal the health care reform law, which offers women on Medicare free preventive health services – such as screenings for cervical and breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease – that used to cost hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket, depending on their Medicare Advantage private insurance plan. In addition, the Affordable Care Act has saved seniors on Medicare more than $4.1 billion on prescription drug costs so far this year by closing the Part D “donut hole.” For non-retired women, the health care reform law has made it illegal for private insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them higher premium rates than men for the same health coverage.
  • The Congressional Republicans’ strong resistance against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which provides funding for local domestic violence programs, law enforcement training, and the prosecution of rapists and abusers.
  • A history of legislative efforts by Republicans on both the national and local levels to create legal loopholes that would hinder the prosecution of rapists and to ban abortion even in cases of rape, purportedly out of respect for a general concept of “life” but not for the lives of women who are victims of sexual violence. This type of misogynist attitude was embodied by Missouri GOP Senatorial candidate Todd Akin, who opposes abortion in cases of rape because he believes that: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”


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