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Ladies, we're all in this together - Women Lead Arkansas

Ladies, we’re all in this together

I know I should, but I don’t often read the opinion pages in the statewide daily newspaper. Occasionally, though, I am rewarded with some common sense. Joyce M. Phillips of North Little Rock wrote to tell us that she believes women should be part of an alliance to generate “sufficient power and respect and to be invited to the negotiating table when sensitive public-policy issues are discussed.” I could not agree with her more, except that I would not limit our involvement to “sensitive” issues. I believe women are entitled to share responsibility with men on ALL issues, regardless of the political sensitivity.

Ms. Phillips identifies herself as a Republican. I identify as a liberal. There is no reason she and I cannot or should not be able to have discussions about issues and problems that affect women, our families, and our communities. By the way, that would be all the issues.

I frequently talk about a book called The Big Sort, by Bill Bishop. It describes how we sort ourselves politically, socially, racially, economically, religiously, etc. Sort of how MSNBC has its watchers and Fox has its watchers. We like to be around people who think like us, look like us, and talk like us. The problem with this is that it polarizes us and it means we never have to listen to anyone with whom we disagree.

We live in belief bubbles. I’m guilty of it, too. I had to make a conscious decision to change the way I move through life. At some point I got tired of being mad at everyone. Now, I want to listen and try to solve problems. As we see in Washington and in many of our statehouses, polarization=stagnation.

We don’t have to belong to the same party to join each other’s efforts to be included in policy discussions. She is right that men are making decisions for women without women being invited to the discussion, let alone being allowed to be decision makers. We do need to form an alliance of women who can speak with one voice. Again, not to speak with one voice about whether we are pro-choice or pro-life, but to speak with one voice that we are entitled to seats at every table. We can get there together.

Joyce, call me.

Women overlooked

I think we women need a political party of our own.

I am a Republican woman and it seems the men in my party only look to me and other Republican women for campaign donations, volunteer work on campaigns and for the votes of elected women to gain leadership positions in Congress, such as speaker of the House or majority leader in the Senate. Thereafter, they ignore us for chair positions important to growth and influence. Finally, they are always too busy to attend to issues that are beneficial to women. Furthermore,they want to make decisions for us instead of with us.

Men of either party pay very little attention to issues that concern women. Men of the Democratic Party are busy making policies to help us terminate our pregnancies if we choose to do so, while men of the Republican Party are promoting policies that insist we continue the birth regardless of the circumstances. Meanwhile, women have no voice in the enactment. The major advocates such as Right to Life and the National Organization of Woman are busy with their own agendas with complete disregard for the individuals faced with these decisions.

Women should be encouraged to join any party they choose. I suggest that all women be part of a strategically formed alliance in order to maintain sufficient power and respect and to be invited to the negotiating table when sensitive public-policy issues are discussed. Women should be able to discuss issues, along with business chambers of commerce, institutions, industrial complexes, foundations, major advocates and the two major parties, Democrats and Republicans.

JOYCE M. PHILLIPS North Little Rock

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Editorial, Pages 15 on 02/04/2014