For many American women, these are times when they are feeling seen and being heard.
More women ran for office in 2018 than ever before, a half-dozen are running for president in 2020 and a record number are serving in Congress. Powerful men are being toppled by women whose voices are being heard for the first time. Every January for the past three years, hundreds of thousands have joined in the Women’s March. Rolling Stone put Nancy Pelosi and three new female members of the House on the cover with the headline “Women Shaping the Future.”
But for all the talk of “women’s issues” and “women’s power” and “what women bring to the table,” there are some — arguably a third of American women — who don’t feel that this is about them at all. In these divisive times, women are as divided as the nation as a whole, and “what women want” depends on which women you ask.
“I don’t want these women who are marching and hollering and celebrating to represent me,” says Beth Ann Arnett, 49, a home health aide from North Judson, Ind., who has also worked in a fiberglass factory and driving a tractor-trailer. “I am ashamed of those ladies.”
Agrees Sue Fariello, 71, a retired educator from Lake George, N.Y.: “Those women don’t speak for me.”
A poll of 1,000 women conducted on behalf of Yahoo, HuffPost, Makers and other Verizon Media brands by Langer Research Associates found that while 62 percent of the respondents considered themselves liberal or moderate, 17 percent said they were “somewhat conservative” and another 11 percent called themselves “very conservative.” And to them the world looks nothing like the one that women on the other end of the political spectrum see.
The gender pay gap, for instance, which 64 percent of liberal women call a “serious” problem, is seen as “not serious” by 71 percent of conservative women. Among those is Arnett, who believes that women are paid the same as men when they do the same work, but that much of the time they are not capable of the same work and therefore earn less. “When I’m a truck driver and I’m going to make the same money as a man, that’s equal,” she says. “But when I was in the factory making fiberglass bathtubs, there were jobs that men do better than females, and that’s nature, that’s muscle tone.” READ MORE