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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Substantive discussion of women’s issues lacking in election

"How much emotion is too much?"

"Is a pantsuit appropriate for a presidential candidate?"

"Can a 'hockey mom' really be vice president?"

I've got a question, too: Why are these the only questions being asked concerning women's issues in this election?

I do not think a woman's political qualifications have anything to do with how much some people may want to "bang her" (a not-so-subtle way for men to remind all women where they think our place is).

Women are not a special interest group, and our issues are not being discussed.

Women need affordable health care, easy and affordable access to birth control and abortions, social programs, equal pay for equal work and stronger legal protections against sexual harassment and assault.

Women must have access to health care that does not tie them down to a man or a job and provides full coverage for women's health issues like Pap smears, birth control, abortion and the morning-after pill.

Ovarian cancers can be fatal but are treatable if caught early. To do this, women must get routine Pap smears, which they may be less than willing to do if it interferes with paying the electric bill.

The fact that we have more checkups and costs seems like a real slap in the face considering women are still making 77 cents to a man's $1.

A woman's right to have control over her body is crucial to her self-determination, but we still don't have control over our reproductive rights.

Without access to affordable birth control and comprehensive abortion rights, women can't control if or when they have children, which leaves us with less money, time, power and freedom than men.

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When women decide to have children, they often switch to part-time work, are pushed into a less competitive, lower paying job or stay in the home to work for free.

We need better social programs. We need to be provided with government benefits, such as universal child care, health care, education, overtime pay and compensation for work done in the home.

These issues affect the daily lives of more than half of our population.

Women struggle with these problems every day: how to go to work and take care of a sick child, how to pay for increasing health care costs, how to obtain an abortion when 87 percent of counties in the U.S. do not have a provider, how to confront a co-worker about sexual harassment and more.

Women are contributing to our society alongside and without men -fighting in the war, caring for the sick, producing the next generation, leading companies. It's time for our issues to be addressed.

Campus National Organization for Women is hosting an event about women's issues in the election from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today on the Plaza of the Americas.

Bethany Koch is a journalism sophomore and a member of UF's Campus NOW.

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