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Hilary Hodge: Women are organizing

Women all over this country are organizing.

Women did not take the results of the Nov. 8 election lightly and women are not going to sit on the sidelines and watch as mostly men continue to make policy that don’t support the best interests of women and children in this country.

Women are getting together on a regular basis and we are getting involved.

This is not to say that women are abandoning men or that women don’t love men or that women aren’t appreciative of the men in their lives. It is simply that women are no longer going to watch as our government enacts policy without our input or our leadership, often putting our health and safety in jeopardy.

… women are no longer going to watch as our government enacts policy without our input or our leadership, often putting our health and safety in jeopardy.

Every single policy in America that furthers poverty disproportionately affects women. Every single policy that disenfranchises access to health care and family planning disproportionately affects women. Every policy that eliminates access to healthy food options disproportionately affects women and children. Each and every policy about worker’s rights, sick leave, and parental leave disproportionately affects women and their families. Every bad policy in American politics that makes it to the frontlines of American culture disproportionately affects women.

According to an article published in 2014 regarding the National Health and Human Services report for the Unites States, 38 percent of the people receiving welfare benefits in our country were children 5 years old and younger. Most of the people being served by welfare programs and social safety nets in America are women and children. These safety nets are the first things on the chopping block of the Trump administration.

Women currently make up just over half of the population but we only represent 19.4 percent of congress. There wasn’t even a women’s restroom for female representatives on the floor of the house until 2011, just five years ago.

During the 2016 presidential election, we saw the greatest of glass ceilings just above our heads, heard it cracking, and watched again as it stayed just out of reach. Mothers awoke with their daughters the day after the election to once again explain why the man gets to go first. Women and girls watched as one of the most qualified candidates in U.S. presidential history, a woman, received three million more votes but ultimately lost to a man with no credentials and no decorum.

While there were several issues that played into the election of Donald Trump, the vicious misogyny and disrespect that took place during the campaign, and after, has been eye-opening for women in our country and for the men who love us.

Many women had taken for granted how far we had come. We believed that we could tell our daughters honestly that they could be anything they wanted, that they could accomplish anything. This election woke women up to the fact that we have been lying to our children and that the idea of equality for women and girls has been nothing but an unfounded fallacy thus far. It is hard reality to come to terms with.

It’s not just that Hillary Clinton lost the presidency. It is also the congressional backlash against women’s health care, against social services, and against ethical conduct. It is also the election of a man who was recorded openly advocating for sexually assaulting women. It is also the subsequent and visible bullying of women and girls in public spaces and public forums. It is also the under representation of women at the highest echelons of society.

Women have learned these past few weeks that we can no longer rely on a small handful of benevolent father figures to have our best interests in mind when making policy. We have learned that we have to be involved. Each and every one of us has to be involved. We have learned that not only must we protect the girls in our society, we must also be role models. We have learned that not only must we support good policy, we much write good policy.

In our community and all over our state and nation, women are getting together in scores and taking the lead in community involvement. Women are vigilantly monitoring the activities of our elected officials to ensure that proposed policy that could hurt women and families in this country doesn’t go forward without a fight. Women are getting involved in local political clubs in numbers never before recorded.

Women are coming together to prove that women can and will change the world.

Hilary Hodge lives in Grass Valley. Her column is published by The Union on Tuesdays. Contact her at hhodgewriter@gmail.com.

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