Conservatism, Feminism, & How Women are Defined in Policy Discussions Today

June 26, 2014 | Gabriella Mahan


College Campuses are a desert for conservative women.

The feminist left seems to have a monopoly over the minds of college women. They convince women that it is impossible to find success without the wandering hands of Uncle Sam. How can young conservatives combat such views on their campuses? How can women succeed in society without relying on the government? These questions and others were answered by our first National Conference panel, Conservatism, Feminism, and How Women are Defined in Policy Discussions Today.

The panel featured guest speakers Diana Furchtgott-Roth (Manhattan Institute for Policy Research), Leslie Hiner (Friedman Foundation), and Penny Nance (Concerned Women for America) as well as moderator Emily Goff (Director, NeW DC).

Conservatives and feminists have fundamentally different views on how women achieve success. One path is gilded in government programs – the other paved with individual responsibility. The left will have women believe that their current roles are a function of what society portrays of them.  Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who spoke first in our panel, disagreed. Women make choices based on their desires, not on the so-called narrow views of society. Modern feminists discredit responsible choices and exchange them for expensive social programs that ultimately hurt women.

Government, however, is not a solution. Programs such as minimum wage increases, mandates for sick leave, and government-provided healthcare prevent young women and teens from taking the first step onto the occupational ladder by raising taxes and employment costs.  Employers who are forced to increase salaries will accumulate costs that exceed profits. The solution is to hire less. Minimum-wage advocates ignore one of the most important rules of economics: when you make something more expensive, there is less of it.

Ms. Furchtgott-Roth focused on France, where women make 70% of what American women make; where 5 less women are employed in the workforce than American women; where birthrates are significantly lower, despite government programs that supposedly ease the burdens of childcare. France thinks government works. We don’t.

What did Ms. Furchtgott-Roth suggest? For one thing, women must become independent communicators with their employers and take a greater role in education. One must understand freedom to truly appreciate it. According to panelist Leslie Hiner, this understanding emerges through education, and parents should have an unrestricted right to choose which educational opportunity is best for their children.

Education involves the home. It effects the women who send their children to the bus stop in the morning – who worry about what their children are learning in school. Education is a woman’s issue, and it is time for women to strengthen their voices and fight for educational choice.

Penny Nance turned the discussion toward what is perhaps the most controversial women’s topic today: the “war on women.”

[The war on women is] a convenient political narrative propagated by the left that somehow our system is completely unfair to women – that somehow we can’t compete and are therefore victims.

The war on women has no room for dissent. If you dare to disagree then you are a part of the problem. YOU are waging the war on your own sex… so modern feminists say.

There is a philosophical war going on between the women on the left and those on the right. Those on the left deem themselves victims of society. Those on the right, stated Ms. Nance, “think we’ve won the lottery because we live in the greatest country in the world.” Heavy handed government mandates leave women with less choices. Life is complicated, but our successes are a direct result of our choices. Ms. Nance demonstrated:

Of the 43% of children born out of wedlock each year, 50% of them will spend their lives in poverty. The odds are 10% higher for a second child.

But feminist don’t want to hear facts. They don’t want to talk about personal responsibility and the ramifications of our choices. They prefer to have everything handed to them by the government, even at the expense of individual liberty.

Ms. Nance left the audience with some advice…

Get an education. Stay off drugs and alcohol. Don’t get pregnant until you are married – stay married. When we make good choices, we succeed… This is why we live in the greatest country in the world.

Leslie Hiner made an excellent point:

The government is us, we are government. It is not a separate entity. And, because it is us, it is our responsibility. 

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