30 Issues: War on Women?

Monday, October 22, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: The role of women as an "interest group" in the election. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

Open Prep: Questions, Articles, and Links to Get You Started

Key Questions

  • Is either party waging a "war on women?"
  • Do women function as a voting bloc?
  • Are any women's rights -- reproductive or otherwise -- at stake in the election?

What are your key questions on this topic? Post them below and get the conversation going!


Got a Follow Up?

Each Friday we'll be following up on one of that week's issues. Got a particular follow-up question from this conversation? Comment below or tweet us. Tweet to @brianlehrer

Comments [32]



Are you a real person or some sort of computerized apologist?

Oct. 22 2012 07:51 PM


I saw no pandering from the Left in either item that you mention. I missed the two weeks of apology and what I heard in Obama's speech was largely a warning to Iran over nuclear arms.

Try quotes from the President or some other source that you consider to be a Leftie.

Oct. 22 2012 03:20 PM
John A

Maybe you should tell us where you're from. Most of your assertions are countered by the laws we all have to live by. Those protections are already in place.

Oct. 22 2012 02:42 PM

I'm not sure "war" on women accurately addresses the fact that the use of women as slaves is part of the foundation of our country (and most nations). Women continue to be paid less than men, 20-30% less, which means most women cannot support themselves and their children on their own. They must be married if they want to have even a modest standard of living, be safe from constant violence and threat of violence, and all the other problems associated with poverty.

Since women must be married in order to have basic food and shelter, that menas marriage is not a consensual arrangement. For women, it is obligatory, much like holding a job. When men demand that women do all the work at home, and make themselves available for sex when the man feels like it (regardless of what the woman wants), this simply reinforces the reality that women are slaves and have almost no rights in a marriage.

Violence against women, including rape, is simply one of the means of punishing slaves who get out of line. Public ridicule, deprivation of money, affection, esteem, are also part of the discipline system.

Men are not along in the family in enforcing the institution. Churches affirm that men are completely within their rights to order women around and limit their freedom to even leave the house without permission. Men should decide how many children a woman has, which is why she should be denied access to birth control or abortion.

The government reinforces men in their enslavement of women. That is why our politicians publicly state that women don't need healthcare, do not need mammograms, that it's okay if women die from breast cancer because once women are past their reproductive years, and are too old or sick to be good servants, their usefulness is gone and they might as well die.

I wouldn't call it a war. It's more like a siege.

Oct. 22 2012 12:31 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan: I am generally a cynic, but the only real differences between women and men are physiological and anatomical. Women are generally much smarter and more capable than men and the only reason we don't run things is because men know that we are smarter and more capable than they are and have done their level best to keep us in the kitchen.

If all things were equal, each individual would function according to his or her ability, not based on his or her XX/XY, and that is not cynicism, just plain old common sense.

Stop trying to project your twisted thought processes onto others.

Oct. 22 2012 12:10 PM
sarah from Chappaqua, NY

I agree with elaine's comment. Certainly there are married women with children who vote Democratic, not because they have need of government services but because they believe in a system that takes care of those who do.

Oct. 22 2012 11:47 AM
Melanie from Bronx

My unease about the "if we are going to have women in the workforce" quote is "What do you mean "if"? and "Who are the 'we' implied as empowered to allow or deny this?"

Oct. 22 2012 11:47 AM

"World Peace" -

Something that even the Empty-Headed can agree with!

Oct. 22 2012 11:47 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

Does Ms. Collins think that part of Romney's attitude towards women stems from his Mormonism? From what I've read, Mormon women — even those younger than his generation — are treated like second class citizens. They're expected to be 'traditional' wives and mothers. Raise the kids, clean the house, get dinner on the table, defer to their husbands, etc.

Oct. 22 2012 11:43 AM
elaine from li

I do not believe that everyone is so self-serving. You may have means and still be strongly democratic because you want to live in a country that serves everyone's interests and levels the playing fields. I believe that this creates a stronger economy and a healthier nation.

Oct. 22 2012 11:43 AM


How about the two week long apology to the terrorists that killed our diplomats? How about Obmama's UN speech? Seriously. Does no one think for themselves anymore?

Oct. 22 2012 11:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Why focus on the "binders" comment when women's groups have said the rest of it was a lie? He didn't go to them asking for names of women job candidates--*they* went to *him* & asked why he wasn't naming women to those jobs!

Oct. 22 2012 11:42 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

It honestly drove me nuts that Romney brought up this "flexible" schedule for women ONLY. SO MANY men are now heavily involved in child-rearing, and it's regressive to discuss flex time as only something that women need. I don't even have kids, and I recognize how important it is for parents to have flex time. Boo Mitt!

Oct. 22 2012 11:42 AM

Why did mittens need binders brought to him?
didn’t he know any women? Were there none he went to college with?

Oct. 22 2012 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

John from office, do you really think telling Ms. Collins you're "HOT FOR TEACHER" is appropriate??

And to the moderator, did you think it was appropriate to let it through without editing? (Or--it occurs to me now--*did* you edit it, & it was originally even worse?)

Oct. 22 2012 11:37 AM
Judy Epstein from Long Island

Loving this segment, Brian. My take on between-the-lines parsing of Romney's 2nd debate comment about contraception:

Perhaps he doesn't mind what women do...with their own money (as opposed to their health plan, some of which is paid for by employer). Which means that women would still have access to birth control...if they were rich enough. Which is consistent with everything else he says -- corporations are people, but people aren't people unless they're wealthy. At least all of us can still vote...for now!

Oct. 22 2012 11:30 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


LOL, what a lack of self-awareness. That's what Brian, his show, and all of YOU on the FAR LEFT promulgate divisions more destructively than anyone else with your constant and relentless pursuit of ugly and divisive identity politics. (Women!Gays!Hispanics!Blacks!The Poor!Students!.....You should all define yourselves as victims of the Right and let us defend you!)

T&B....LOL, thanks for inadvertently admitting that your cynicism sickens you as much as it does the rest of us.

Oct. 22 2012 11:27 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What keeps amazing me is that Mitt Romney keeps saying things about what his planned actions will do (e.g., create 12 million jobs) w/out backing them up w/info about *how* they would bring his predictions about or any reason we should believe they would...& that the Democrats don't point out that he seems to assume we'll believe it just because he says so. Romney actually did this explicitly in the 1st (I think) debate when he said that if he says his economic plan won't raise the deficit, no economist can argue that it will.

Oct. 22 2012 11:26 AM
Tara Lambert from NYC

I think framing current efforts to limit, or in some states eliminate, women's reproductive rights as a "war on women" actually acts to discredit the struggle to maintain them. A "war" is too strong a word, a war on women is what is happening in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, not here.

Oct. 22 2012 11:19 AM

@Ed from Larchmont

You have only proven that you don't know what Roe v. Wade decided. Let me hip you, first trimester - woman's choice based on privacy; 2nd trimester - balance between mom's rights and state's interest in the unborn, 3rd trimester - state overrides. So your fantasy that abortions are permitted up to a live birth are a FoxNews strawman. Get some facts and try again.

@Jim -

What pandering is the Left doing to Islamist extremists? You'll have to teach me.

Oct. 22 2012 11:19 AM

there is no objectivity on this show is there?

Oct. 22 2012 11:17 AM
John A

Women have children and men don't, unless you're counting the outdating concept of marriage - why there are separate men's and women's issues. And then they come up with the father's rights movement. So, can we say an excess of rights, when everybody gets an entitlement, are merely privileges?

Oct. 22 2012 11:17 AM
Robert from NYC

Then Chris Matthews must not have a large female audience. I find it amazing that the man gets any guests on his show, he never lets them speak!

Oct. 22 2012 11:15 AM

Men who yell?...has there been a candidate that didn't yell?...this is a showertime segment

Oct. 22 2012 11:14 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Oh lord, that Romney quote proves how ignorant he is about women's issues.
Have the candidates forgotten that some of us are actually employed, and how many other issues we have an interest in, and concerns about?

Oct. 22 2012 11:12 AM
Susan from Manhattan from NYC

For the second time in four years, I'm forced to vote for Obama (when I want to be voting for Hillary's second term) because the alternative is so dangerous and frightening.

Focusing on things like the binders comment, as entertaining as that may be, does not address inequality... Let's really talk about equality... and no one in the peacock fight we saw last week did.

Even Obama said that equal pay is so important because so many women are now primary bread-winners of the family. It's not equality if it's tied to being a mother and/or wife and/or bread-winner. It's about equality when it's about equal pay/benefits for equal work.

Oct. 22 2012 11:12 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

What bothers me is that we still have to differentiate between women's and men's issues. How about graduating to the "we are all people" platform, at which point we will have achieved real equality?

Oct. 22 2012 11:10 AM

It seems to me that the real War On Women is Sharia. As the left panders to Islamist extremists and condemns a billion women to degradation, how can they claim the high ground?

Oct. 22 2012 10:09 AM
john from Office

Ed, move to the Vatican, a true Catholic state.

Brian, ask Ms. Collins why David Brooks has become a pro Romney zombie?? Was there some money exchanged?? He became pro Romney over night, very suspicious.

Oct. 22 2012 08:25 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The admnistration has cleverly come up with a narrative about a 'war on women' to hide the real war they are engaging, which is on religion and on the Catholic Church specifically.

Most Americans, polls tell us, want abortion to be legal, but to have restrictions, and not for all nine months. The administration is as radical as one can get in terms of abortion and contraception, they are out of step. If Roe is overturned, it will only send the issue back to the states to make laws in this area. (As they say, the only way the president could be more pro-abortion would be if he performed them himself.)

Oct. 22 2012 08:21 AM
john from office

All Hail GAIL COLLINS, the best writer in the times, the most enjoyable to read and the most "dogged" Romney observer!!! Stand up for all dogs strapped to car roof tops. We the American people may be in for similar treatment.

I remain HOT FOR TEACHER, Ms. Collins.

Oct. 22 2012 08:18 AM
sandra from b'klyn

so romney used to not only didn't used to have a problem with a woman's right to choose/related healthcare issues, but he also invested in a medical-waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses. Romneysia?...

Oct. 22 2012 03:29 AM

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