Wisconsin Budget Battle Targets Women and People of Color
16.03.2011 § Leave a comment
We had been ruminating about this (click)…
The rhetoric being used by the governor and his supporters to discredit public workers is eerily similar to the campaign used against single mothers during the welfare debates of the 1990s. At that time, the right-wing mobilized public anger by pushing a manufactured image of an inner-city woman of color who gave birth for welfare checks and lived an undeserved life of comfort…
Most importantly, in both battles, women and people of color ultimately are the biggest losers, disproportionately affected by the budget cutting mania because they are more often employed in the public sector. Nationally, the public sector is the number one employer for African-American men and the number two employer for African-American women. Also on average nationally, women at the state and local levels make-up 52 percent and 61 percent respectively of public sector employees.
In Wisconsin Walker has specifically exempted the male-dominated firefighter and police unions, aiming his attack at predominantly female unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Federation of Teachers. In addition, women, especially women of color, continue to earn less than men for the same work. Slashing salaries and benefit in sectors where women are concentrated has a profound effect on their economic power, particularly at a time when budget cuts threaten funding for women and family health programs such as Title V in Wisconsin and Title X nationally as well as state insurance programs for women and children.
The article ends on the following note… apparently this is supposed to be good, but we’re not sure…:
“The consequences are going to be gendered and raced, but the movement itself is not fractioning along those lines,” Collins says. “Right now the message is ‘this hurts us all.’”