March is the month that we celebrate the women who have opened the doors, broken the glass ceilings, risked their lives and made it possible for women everywhere to vote, own property and even become the vice president of the United States. Women today stand on the strong shoulders of women who fought for reform created by the inequality between men and women. Priorities have expanded since the 1800s, but have our representatives heard the voices of women? Who speaks for the women in Alabama? Why do the women in Alabama continue to vote for representatives who do not speak for women?
Robert Aderholt was elected in 1997. During this time, he has voted against the Employment Discrimination Law three times. Obviously, Aderholt is strongly against women making an equal wage based on his votes against the Equal Pay Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Paycheck Fairness Act and Equality Act. CHIP is the Children's Health Insurance Plan that he has voted against six times.
Women more so than men are often victims of sexual abuse. Aderholt voted no on the Domestic Violence Against Women Act. He failed to vote in favor of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act and Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act and Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.
Healthcare for women in Alabama is vital to saving lives. Aderholt voted against the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, PUMP of Nursing Mother’s Act, Women’s Health Protection Act and Pregnant Women in Custody Act. Aderholt has strong ideas against a woman’s right to choose, yet he voted against the bill that will ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Do Republican women really want a ban on birth control? They are voting for a representative who voted against the Right to Contraception Act. Aderholt is against abortion under any circumstances, including rape and incest. So, would it not make logical sense that he would vote to pass a bill to prevent pregnancy and/or ensure that pregnant women would have access to the healthcare they need to protect the fetus and the mother? In the alternative, he voted against it.
I have been personally criticized for being a feminist. I can only say that is because “he” didn’t know what a feminist is. Quite simply, feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities and respecting diverse women’s experiences, identities, knowledge and strengths and striving to empower women to realize their full rights. It’s about leveling the playing field between genders and ensuring that women and girls have the same opportunities in life that are available to boys and men.
At one time not so long ago, women in Alabama could not own land unless they were married. I’m sure there is a woman reading this who has been discriminated against for job promotions when she was more qualified than the man who was chosen. Women had to fight for the right to vote. Women were even denied a right to their children if they divorced their husbands. In the 1960s, a bank could refuse to issue a credit card to an unmarried woman; even if she was married, her husband was required to cosign. It wasn’t until 1973, a woman could serve on juries in all 50 states. Yale and Princeton didn’t accept female students until 1969. Harvard didn’t admit women until 1977. These are the reasons why it is important that we realize here in Alabama that women need a voice in our government to ensure that the rights of women are protected instead of taken away. The only way this is going to happen is if Alabama women realize what they are voting for and how it is affecting their lives as equal human beings.
We no longer live in the world of Ozzie and Harriet. Women today are a big percent of the workforce. They deserve to be treated with respect, equal pay and opportunity. They also deserve to have a right to choose, healthcare, birth control and to be protected against domestic violence. This is not what our representative for District Four is voting for. He is voting for the Handmaiden’s Tale in Alabama. This is not the direction that women in Alabama deserve. Women, vote smarter. Stop voting party lines. Check your representatives' voting records.
Lynda Kirkpatrick, Marion County Democratic chairperson, Rep District 17, Alabama State Democratic party
See complete story in the Journal Record.