Opinion

The real war on women

Photo of Tracy Henke
Tracy Henke
COO, Americans for Prosperity

For the past several weeks the “war on women” theme has persistently simmered, only to boil over with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent statement that Ann Romney couldn’t grasp economic issues and had “never worked a day in her life.” Such an obtuse and demeaning comment about stay-at-home moms — who often manage the family budget and pay the bills — comes from a place of social blindness and a deep misunderstanding of how the Obama economy has impacted women.

In an attempt to calm the outcry over Rosen’s remarks, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was sent to reassure America that the president indeed does have women’s best interests at heart, and as proof, Carney rattled off a list of government subsidies and public assistance programs available to women.

What Rosen, Carney and President Obama all fail to grasp is that economic issues drive women. Because women frequently control the family pocketbook, they feel the economic stranglehold at the gas pump, the grocery store and when making the mortgage payment. Who in America suffers more from skyrocketing gas prices than single mothers?

Since women’s pivotal role in the success of families and communities is well known, their rapid ascent in the business world should be no surprise. Women are job creators whose small businesses contribute around $3 trillion to the U.S. economy each year. But while women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men, statistics show they are also more vulnerable in a stagnating economy. Even Betsey Stevenson, Obama’s former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, recently said, “Women are a shrinking share of private sector employment.”

Forget the glass ceiling as a barrier to women in business — the only real barriers are the government handcuffs that limit the economic freedom of women. Women are handcuffed by stifling government policies and regulations that constrain their ability to grow businesses and increase employment opportunities, help their communities and help their own families.

So perhaps a “war on women” is being waged — by President Obama through his disastrous economic policies. The president knows that women are now the majority of the electorate, so he is desperate to find a tactic that will appeal to them. However, what CNN contributor Dana Loesch calls “hurt and rescue” (causing a problem while simultaneously pretending to be the savior from the problem) is unacceptable. Women don’t need more government services; they need real opportunity.

An administration truly in tune with the needs of women would be focused on economic growth and recovery. Instead, this administration is expending tremendous energy attempting to “win” them, like some political trophy.

History has shown that women, time and time again, will step up to fill a void or solve a problem using creativity, determination, smarts and sheer will. Those same traits are needed now to overcome the disastrous policies and entitlement mentality advocated and pushed by the Obama administration. Women cannot afford for their economic freedoms to be stripped away or for their opportunities to be limited by government policies.

Tracy Henke is the chief operating officer and executive vice president at Americans for Prosperity.