President Obama voiced his support for women and families at the first-ever Working Families Summit on Monday, and discussed what helps make stronger families. A major part of that discussion was family-friendly workplace policies, including family leave and help with childcare. To him, these are basic necessities, not bonuses that women should have to work for. He even mentioned getting asked in a prior interview about whether supporting women was political, because women tend to vote Democratic. He said, “Women are smarter.”
He might have been joking a little, but it is true that women, especially unmarried women and minorities, tend to vote Democratic. Democrats tend to be friendlier towards women, unlike the GOP, which tries to keep women down by doing things like telling them they don’t deserve equal pay or benefits at their jobs.
Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, and they’ve been letting things like a bill for paid maternity leave just sit. They keep fighting things like mandated contraception, with some saying that women should just keep an aspirin between their knees, to say nothing of their position on abortion (even for pregnancies caused by rape or incest). So yes, women vote Democratic, because they’re smart enough to know that the Party of Old, Rich, White Men wants to keep women down.
About family-friendly workplace policies, Obama said, according to MSNBC:
“Too often these issues are thought of as women’s issues, which I guess means you can kind of scoot them aside a little bit. Anything that makes life harder for women, makes life harder for families, and makes life harder for children.”
He also acknowledged a double standard, where working men get a pat on the back for going to parent-teacher conferences, whereas women see their work ethic questioned for the same thing. More generally, it looks like this: Working men being good parents are seen as trying to find a good work-life balance, and working women trying to do the same thing are seen as unable to find a good work-life balance. So women have a harder time, and, as Obama noted, children then have a harder time.
The president told CBS that family friendly workplaces isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a partisan issue. He called it a middle class issue, and an American issue, when he mentioned that there’s a faction in the GOP that likes to say no to everything. If nothing else, that faction will probably disagree with this while thing just because Obama is the one who tried to bring it to the forefront of our issues.
He did also say that they want to show companies that family-friendly policies are good business. We still live in an age where companies think they aren’t doing well if they can’t put every dime that isn’t nailed down on their bottom line. It wouldn’t be too terribly surprising for the GOP to use that as a reason to buck the idea of paid maternity leave. Doing something through law like that is just more burdensome regulation that will drive up business costs and hurt everyone, in their world.