Nel's New Day

March 10, 2013

Women Can Change the World

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:05 PM
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Those of you who read my blog occasionally may have noticed that there have been no recent additions. On Wednesday, February 27, my almost-80-going-on-under-60 partner had a hip replacement in a hospital that is a two-hour drive from our home. Because she had already had bilateral knee replacement and back surgery with no problems except excruciating pain, we anticipated the same ease back into daily life. Boy, were we surprised!

The good news is that the hip is doing fine. The other part of it is that a side effect of the surgery was severe respiratory distress and low oxygen level in her blood, causing her to be moved from the Surgical Wing of the hospital to something called Intermediate Care Unit (ICU). Science is not my strong suit, but I’ve learned that the blood needs an optimum level of hemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body.

After four days in the hospital—including the day of her surgery—my partner was released, and we drove home, happy about getting on with the healing process. No such luck. After the breathing grew worse, we trooped to the Emergency Room in our small-town hospital and found her hemoglobin was about half the bottom of optimum level; she got a blood transfusion the next day. Now lungs are fine, hemoglobin count is up, and she’s on the mend.

I’m writing about her problems because March 8, last Friday, was International Women’s Day. During the past ten days, we have benefited from the care of a myriad of wonderful women—Peggi, the fabulous nurse in the Surgical Unit who knew there was something was wrong with her when others didn’t worry; Julie and Harvest, the nurses in ICU who were always there, delivering medications almost before we asked for them; Susan, Marcie, and the other aides and people whose job descriptions I don’t even know who were just fantastic. (I do need to mention Gabe, the night nurse, who was wonderfully sensitive to our needs and absolutely loves his new three-week-old daughter.)

Once we got home, more women gave us more support: Lee, who sent cards and brought food and kept my partner company; Jess, who made the scrumptious healing Jewish chicken soup; her partner, Jean, who willingly comes over to stay with my partner whenever she was called; our doctor friend Joan, who gave invaluable advice in advocating for my partner and told me what to find out to help my partner; Beth, who fixes fabulous soup and cornbread; Donna, who started out as a dog/cat/house sitter and then became a friend, ordering flowers from Hawaii; Jan, who left a card, a chocolate cake, and flowers for us; Carol, who sent what must be the funniest get-well card I’ve ever seen and added invaluable medical information to what Joan provided us.

Then there were Kathy, who saw her through the transfusion; Deb, who gently took her blood; Josephina, who got information to me quickly, and PT Karen, who has seen us through other physical therapy and will make sure that my partner will soon be walking the beach with me. Other women near and far called us and sent emails of support—Mary, Nancy, Ann, Taylor, Lynn, Kay, Alice, Jane, etc. (It’s dangerous to put in these names because I may forget some of the most important ones! If so, know that I appreciate all of you! And I can’t skip Robert, who went above and beyond to help us.)

International Women’s Day is about the empowerment of women, vital to changing the world, and these women are some of those who have made the world a better place. They are all resilient and talented—and unfailingly willing to help those around them.

Annie-Rose Strasser and Tara Culp-Ressler listed ways in which increased support for women could make the world much better: 

An increase in women’s participation in the workforce would vastly improve the global economy: According to one study, the U.S. overall GDP would rise by 5 percent with this increase. In Japan, it would go up by 9 percent. Education is vital to this increase: the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that each country’s GDP grows by 3 percent for every additional 10 percent of girls going to school.

Both companies and women would benefit with women in leadership positions: Although 36 percent of U.S. companies currently don’t have a single woman on their boards of directors, those with women on their boards outperformed those with all-male boards by 26 percent.

More politically-involvement women would mean better policies for the poor: When women aren’t outnumbered by men, they speak up more for the needs of the vulnerable and advocate for the social safety net. In one experiment that asked groups to set the threshold for public assistance, the groups with fewer women decided on a minimum income of about $21,600 per year for a family of four–close to the United States’ current federal poverty level, but in the groups in which women made up 60 to 80 percent, they advocated for as much as $31,000. In female-dominated groups, women spoke up as much as men, encountered less hostility from their peers, and ultimately influenced their male counterparts to make more generous economic policy choices.

Families would thrive with higher-paid women: The average pay disparity in the United States is 77 cents for women on every dollar that men receive. A woman could feed a family of four for 37 years with the earnings she loses thanks to pay disparity. Economists believe that closing the gender pay gap would be the equivalent of “huge” economic stimulus, and that, in the United States alone, it could grow the economy by three or four percentage points.

If more women held political office, they’d advance more pro-women policies: Around the world, including the United States, women compose about 20 percent of lawmakers, meaning that they cannot represent women’s interests and influence male colleagues. Studies show that without enforcing quotas, voters elect, on average, only 12 percent women.

If women had more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) training, they could participate in the half-trillion-dollar global technology market:  Although the number of women is improving in legal and medical fields, a 2009 study of 121 countries found that women held only 29 percent of STEM researcher jobs. In the U.S., women are so far behind in STEM that the Obama administration has made it one of their priorities to encourage women to pursue science and technology careers.

Government corruption would shrink with more women holding political power: A growing body of research has correlated a greater number of female elected officials with less corruption of power though female leaders breaking up the “old boy’s club.”

One way in which women progressed last week was the renewal of the 19-year-old Violence against Women Act by the House after the Senate passed it 11 months ago. The vote on this, however, shows the GOP opposition to supporting women. During the GOP majority of the House in 2005, VAWA was passed with two Republicans voting “nay.”

In this year’s vote, 138 Republicans voted against VAWA, over half the 235 GOP House members, showing the anti-woman position that the GOP now takes. Male GOP senators followed the same pattern with 27 Republican males voting against VAWA, again over half the 45 GOP members of the Senate.

Despite their protestations, Republicans have banded together to oppose any rights and protections for women. It’s time for women to stop them: women can make the world better! We should make every day International Women’s Day.

[I may not be back for another few days, but with so much news these days, I’ll be blogging as soon as I can!]

1 Comment »

  1. You have been missed! I look forward to your blogs and your absence has been conspicuous! So glad that Sue is FINALLY on the real road to recovery. This has been such an ordeal for both of you. A month from now you will be laughing!


    Comment by Central Oregon Coast NOW — March 10, 2013 @ 11:36 PM | Reply

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