Amanda Marcotte has listed Oklahoma as one of the worst states “to be a woman between puberty and menopause.”
Marcotte, a leading feminist writer and blogger, places Oklahoma fifth behind Mississippi, Texas, South Dakota and Indiana In a 10-state ranking of worst states for women. Marcotte points to a bill in Oklahoma that could prevent Planned Parenthood from administering the federal nutritional program Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Here’s the information on Oklahoma:
Oklahoma legislators looked at how Indiana Republicans are using the specter of abortion to cut off contraception and thinking of ways they can expand on that for brand-new ways to punish women for having working uteruses. Why stop at attacking women not giving birth, when you have women who have babies to punish, as well? With this in mind, the Oklahoma House passed a bill that would eliminate independent contractors from administering Women, Infants and Children (WIC), a federal program that distributes nutrition vouchers to low-income women with children. As usual, Planned Parenthood was cited as the reason, with the GOP claiming the organization is so evil that it’s better to starve babies than allow Planned Parenthood to receive government funding. In practice, the result is one more punishment inflicted on women, this time for having the nerve to have babies who need to eat.
Marcotte, co-author of the blog Pandagon, notes, “In a time of war and record unemployment, the GOP is sending a message: fertile women are the country’s number one enemy, and their freedoms must be quashed at all costs.”
Of course, there’s much Marcotte doesn’t mention. Here’s some facts: Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation in infant mortality rates. The state leads the nation in the female incarceration rate on a per capita basis. Oklahoma has one of largest pay differences between college-educated men and women in the nation. College-educated women here make 67 percent what college-educated men do.
Given these issues, what kind of political leadership can women expect here? In a recent racist and sexist tirade on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, one of the state’s most well-known legislators, state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), remarked that women don’t want to work as hard as men. Here’s Kern’s full quote, as it was reported:
You see, women usually don’t want to work as hard as a man, because, now I mean, now get me, wait a minute, now listen to me, women, hang on, women tend to think a little bit more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, want to have a little more leisure time, that’s all I mean. I’m not saying women don’t work hard . . .