As we reflect on what the past year has meant for our families, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies are hitting women especially hard.
Since the president took office on January 20, about one million women have lost their jobs and today the unemployment rate among women is at the highest level in over 25 years. But perhaps most concerning of all, the president’s economic policies have severely harmed the small business community, which has traditionally been the part of our economy that propels us out of recession and is increasingly being used by women as a means of career advancement and financial independence.
According to the U.S. Census, women are starting new businesses at twice the rate of men and today 23 million Americans are employed by women-owned businesses. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are creating an uncertain economic environment in which small businesses lack the confidence to hire new workers. The Democrats’ $787 billion stimulus bill has raised investor fears that America will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Meanwhile, the president’s threats to enact a cap-and-trade law and impose a government takeover of America’s health care system have heightened anxiety among our entrepreneurial class — a class increasingly made up of women.
The health care reform bill, in particular, has created fear among women of all political persuasions. After all, women are responsible for most health care decisions and spend two out of every three health care dollars. The overwhelming majority of health care workers are women, including 95 percent of home health care workers, 90 percent of nurses, and the majority of first year medical students. In November, women around the country reacted fiercely when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women ages 40 to 49 should not be routinely screened with a mammogram for breast cancer. It seemed the federal government was telling young women to just roll the dice when it came to this deadly disease.
The truth is that mammography screening for women aged 40 and above is one of the major health care advances of the past 40 years. With the onset of mammography screening, the death rate from advanced breast cancer has decreased by 30 percent since 1990. That’s why the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have made it clear they will not change their guidelines urging women to be screened starting at age 40.