Politicians are Trying to Divide Women over Feminism
In the U.S., only 61% of women describe themselves as feminists, and only 42% of Republican-leaning women describe themselves this way. Many Republicans have chosen to oppose feminism because it seems to imply support for the pro-choice movement. As a result of this idea, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a measure which would make all laws gender neutral, has not passed to this day. Furthermore, many people against abortion are not supporting feminism, and are consequently not supporting solutions to many issues women experience today.
Many feminist organizations have moved forward with little concern for the fact that they are excluding people of certain religious and political beliefs. During the past few years, for instance, the Women’s March has excluded pro-life groups from their rallies. This has only harmed the feminist movement. Only 5% of Republicans are feminists and the ERA hasn’t passed because Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring up its deadline extension for a vote. Many Republicans oppose this Amendment, claiming it will expand abortion. These barriers to progress will not change if we continue to make the feminist movement a place where only some are welcome.
At the Bipartisan Feminist Project, we believe it is necessary to get past the notion that one can not be pro-life and a feminist. Throughout history, societies, including ours, have oppressed women by trying to divide us. Just as it is ineffective to have feminism only fight for privileged women, it is ineffective for feminism to only fight for women with certain beliefs. All people need to come together to support women so we can work together towards mutually desirable goals such as the ERA. If both sides came together, they would discover that the ERA says nothing about abortion. In fact, many states which ratified it continue to restrict abortion.
Opponents of this bipartisan perspective claim that Republican political beliefs are inherently anti-woman. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the feminist movement will never achieve its goals if we reject all people who do not fit certain standards of moral purism. Furthermore, no social movement can be effective that only accounts for one perspective. Republicans may raise unique questions about feminism which strengthen the movement and help us more effectively achieve our goals.
Pro-choice and pro-life women are welcomed in the feminist movement. And for there to be a future of this movement, this needs to become the norm. At the Bipartisan Feminist Project, we find hope in the rapid progress for women which is possible once we overcome our differences.