Columbus Dispatch: Society suffers when women endure inequality, even as the majority

The Columbus Dispatch

In what world does it make sense for a certain segment of society to be better educated but not fare as well financially as other segments?

Similarly, does it make any sense at all for people who live in adjacent counties in the same state to have wildly different rates on indicators of health and well-being?

That doesn’t make sense to us, but we appreciate, with dismay, that in too many ways, women are still second-class citizens, as demonstrated in findings of a new study by the Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland.

And here is a clue as to why women might continue to fare worse than men: Women still hold far fewer elective offices than men even though they are the majority gender in Ohio as well as in the nation. While women outnumber men, they hold just a third of elective offices, the report notes.

More research likely is needed to explain why women’s experiences vary so greatly from one Ohio county to the next, as the report showed in comparing two central Ohio neighboring counties, Delaware and Marion. Marion County women have three times the poverty rate and nearly seven times the teen birth rate of Delaware County.

Also troubling is that even where Ohio women have high rates of insurance coverage and enjoy good access to health care, such as in Franklin County, they still suffer high rates of cervical cancer diagnoses in late stages, carrying the highest risk of death.

Our prescription to help correct these inequities is simple: Women, take a page from the male playbook and look out for No. 1, and by that, we mean yourself.

Women’s natural tendency may be to nurture others, but they will greatly improve their chances to lift all boats if they focus first on exercising their political muscle relative to their population majority and take care of themselves with the same intensity that they devote to others.

The Columbus Dispatch

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