Clarion Call No. 190
In March a group of about 50 women’s rights activists from the North Carolina mountains plans to present state legislators with a “new” agenda on the needs of women in the state.

The Women’s Agenda Task Force of the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University produced a preliminary agenda this month from 15 small-groups discussions with about 100 activists. They focused on such issues as increasing access to attorneys for victims of domestic violence, better-paying jobs for women, and subsidized childcare — and how to get tax dollars for them.

Task force chair Vera Guise told the Asheville Citizen-Times, “here in the mountains, part of the culture is that nice women don’t speak out about things.” But what about those things?

Increasing access to attorneys for victims of domestic violence? The last time I checked, the Yellow Pages was still in print and easier to find than a Bible. So the problem must be having to read through all those alphabetically ordered names. If 30 pages of attorneys eager for business is not enough, I am unsure of what else to do rather than call the attorneys for these women. We already take away their responsibility for remaining in dangerous situations by shifting blame to everything but the women (log onto the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence web site,, for some enlightening reasons on “Why women stay.”) Why not go one step further and take over the task of contacting legal representation?

This idea is another example of the overexposure women in domestic-violence situations receive while scant attention is given to their children, who are the greater victims because they physically cannot leave. Among NCADV’s 18 “Barriers to Leaving a Violent Relationship,” only two mention children, one of which explains that some battered women feel that a “violent father is better than no father at all.”

Subsidized childcare? In other words, leave women only the responsibility to give birth (until the Raelians can figure out how to replace the uterus with the Petri dish) and have taxpayers take care of the rest (after the federally mandated twelve weeks, of course). It is one issue for parents to choose — yes, it is a choice — a career over the rearing of their children during the most formative (and adorable) years of life. It is quite another to have taxpayers to fund this practice. If a woman wishes to endure nine months of labor (that is, pregnancy) only to spend just her evenings and weekends crash-coursing her kids in the lessons of life, that’s her choice — but why have taxpayers encourage these self-inflicted visitation rights?

Create higher-paying jobs for women? What can state government do here? Besides cut taxes, that is. Surely these feminists support the Bush tax plan, then, since it would allow tax savings for 620,000 N.C. businesses. Tax savings would allow for more jobs — and higher pay — within a company or small business. Besides, eight million business owners in the U.S. are women. They employ 18.5 million workers. So the Bush plan must be a win-win for the Task Force. Right?

At the agenda-setting meeting, however, Marilyn Chambers, director of Women’s Studies at WCU, said “the government forces women to choose between work and activism or [sic] having a family.” It does? And since when is the government these feminists’ fall guy, anyway? They obviously believe that the government must save women from domestic violence, the government is best suited to care for our young, the government has power over female reproduction — it follows that they must believe that the government creates jobs (and not, say, the eight million women behind 18.5 million jobs). So they would not like the Bush plan after all.

I apologize for this speculation; I did ask for more information from the task force, but when Guise learned I was with the John Locke Foundation, she abruptly got off the phone and failed to send the information that she had earlier promised me she would send. She was worried about “slant.” Not hers, of course.