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to the Editor
Attention Must Be Paid
posted August 28, 2008
Anyone elected to represent the citizens of South Carolina in Congress
must take into consideration the needs and wants of the women voters
who elected that Representative to office. J. Gresham Barrett has
proved himself disconnected from the wants and needs of the women in
his district. Just one month ago on July 31st he voted against HR1338
requiring equal pay for equal work for both sexes, proving he is out of
touch with the women voters who elected him. Last year he voted against
HR2764 that would permit a woman to breastfeed her child on federal
property. Fortunately, the President signed HR2764.
In 2007 he voted against HR1592, which allows the Attorney General to
provide assistance for the criminal investigation of crimes motivated
by prejudice based on gender. Barrett consistently votes against what
A poll recently conducted by Peter Hart Research for the National
Women's Law Center tells us what women want. 59% of women are concerned
about their economic situation, and 68% believe we need strong women's
leadership to make the changes that are necessary. Almost 50% of men
Hart Research reports that 25% of girls drop out of high school and
earn about $9,000 less than the lowest wages earned by males. In
general, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And
Barrett would keep it that way even though 60% of the poor are women
and a third of single mothers live in poverty. During the last eight
years, programs to help these women have been cut because taxes have
been lowered on the very wealthy.
According to Hart more than 17 million women have no health insurance
and 20% report they could not fill prescriptions in the last year
because of cost. Half of all pregnancies are unintended and the cost of
birth control has increased by ten fold. Health insurance corporation
policies based on pre-existing conditions and gender based premiums are
hurting women. And this doesn't address problems associated with
childcare or family medical leave.
We need our representatives to represent all the people not just the
interests of the wealthy and huge profit making corporations. We need
to reduce poverty and improve economic security, which would help both
the poor and increase corporate sales. We need a tax system that does
not put the burden on the little people.
Consider the facts offered to us on the website voterunlead.org. Of the
12,000 members of Congress there have only been 215 women elected in
the history of the United States. Yet 51% of the voting population is
made up of women. According to voterunlead.org there are 5.3 million
more women than men. Over 15 million 18-34 year old women did not vote
in the last presidential election.
Think what these numbers mean. Only male interests, valid male
interests certainly, are given consideration, but no debate is heard in
the corridors of power for the interests of women, their families,
health, education, and future. This situation can only weaken America.
It is time to elect a representative who will fight for all the people.
Jane Ballard Dyer
Editor's note: Jane Ballard Dyer is running for US Congress for the 3rd
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