This week’s been a tough one. I think we all know that. We started the week learning about the tipped minimum wage, stagnant at $2.13 since 1991, and what it means for gender inequity. Yesterday we dealt with a panel of five men testifying before a House committee about how birth control tramples their freedom of religion in addition speaking out against the Blunt amendment all week. And there was even more Senate obstruction on judicial nominations.
Sadly, I don’t have good news for you. After the jump are stories on low literacy rates and their impact on women, PETA’s latest ad, and some disturbing bills from the Virginia state Legislature.
First: this week the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) found that low literacy rates hurt women’s wages more than they hurt men’s after analyzing new National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) data. While low levels of literacy occur at about the same rates in women and men and hurt both their wages, they particularly affect women – who already face a persistent wage gap.
Here’s one part of the report I found particularly interesting:
“Although both women and men benefit from having strong literacy skills, women appear to see much greater relative gains from high literacy than the gains seen by men. Women with high document literacy are 94 percent more likely than women with low document literacy to make between $650 and $1,149 per week and 353 percent more likely to make between $1,150 and $1,949 per week (compared to 25 percent and 257 percent more likely, respectively, for men). Although a strong male advantage persists among the very highest earners ($1,950 or more per week), IWPR analysis of NAAL data suggests that high literacy may help women reach earnings levels that allow them to support themselves and their families.”
Next up this week: a new ad campaign launched by PETA.
A YouTube clip of PETA’s most recent ad is below. It features a girl named Jessica, who we see walking back to an apartment in a jacket, sneakers, neck brace, and underwear. According the narrator, she suffers from BWVAKTBOOM, a clever little acronym for “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out Of Me.”
YouTube comments sections are usually notorious for being, well, vulgar and ruckus, but some of the top comments on this video summed up what I think about this ad better than I could:
“*sigh* More dumb misogynistic s--- from PETA. I love animals, respect vegetarianism/veganism, and theoretically want to support their cause, but the bizarre and gross exploitation of women in their advertising turns me off completely.”
“This is incredibly offensive to women, and the implications abt [sic] women liking to be knocked around is reprehensible. And if this is what will reach young people, we have failed women in this country MISERABLY.”
Finally, I need to report on some bills moving forward in my current state of residence, Virginia. This week the Virginia state Legislature took up two bills that’d place new restrictions on reproductive health care in the state. First, the House of Delegates voted in favor of a “personhood” bill, kind of like the one defeated in Mississippi last November.
Should this pass the Virginia state Senate and go on to be signed by Governor Bob McDonnell (he hasn’t given any indication yet if he’d sign this or veto it), Virginia would become one of the first states to adopt such an extreme measure.
Just to make sure it had all the bases covered, the state Legislature followed personhood up by passing a bill that would require all women seeking to have an abortion to have an ultrasound prior to the procedure. As Dahlia Lithwick points out on Slate, since “the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced.”
There’s no medical reason to have women who seek abortions to go under these procedures. (As much as some of those concerned folk who claim they’re “just looking out for the best interests of women” claim that these mandatory ultrasounds will allow a women to fully understand what she’s doing/what abortion is AS IF women have NO IDEA that an abortion will terminate her pregnancy. [On a side note, can someone remind me why I need to see a dentist? It’s to have my cholesterol checked, right? </sarcasm>])
Unlike the personhood bill, Governor McDonnell has indicated he would sign this forced ultrasound bill. Rachel Maddow covered both issues pretty well on her show this week – watch the segment below. The relevant portions start at about the 2:18 mark.
Oh, and did I mention that both these measures passed on Tuesday? Which was Valentine’s Day, by the way. Way to show the love, 60-some members of the Virginia Legislature.
That’s all for this week. Did you read anything this week you want to share? Leave a link and/or suggestion in the comments or email it to me at djackson (at) nwlc (dot) org.
Articles by Topic
Join the New Reproductive Health Campaign
Go to ThisIsPersonal.org to get the facts and tools you need to help protect women's reproductive health.