Why Are Women Marching to Their Own Hurt?
March 8, 2017, was "International Women's Day," and media outlets hailed the event's observation worldwide. A march in Buenos Aires, a fake glass ceiling in Tbilisi, Georgia, workplace strikes in France—these events and others made up the global celebration of "women's equality and empowerment," as the New York Times called it.
The celebrants' focus was a bit different in each country. In France, women were urged to leave work at 3:40 p.m.—women are purportedly paid, on average, 26 percent less than men, so 3:40 marks the time in a typical workday when women start working for nothing. In Ireland, women wore black to protest their country's conservative stance on abortion. In Buenos Aires, the women's march focused on violence against women—CNN cited a statistic alleging that "a woman is killed in Argentina every 30 hours because of her gender."
"I am woman, hear me roar" describes the overall tenor of the day. Women everywhere were standing up against the fact that they earn less than men, have fewer opportunities than men, and are oppressed, abused, beaten, enslaved, and even killed by men. But while in many places, and in particular instances, these things certainly do happen, as generalities they fall flat.
Feminism versus Facts
What the women marching on International Women's Day didn't seem to know is the fact that married women are safer on almost all fronts than unmarried women. A report by the Heritage Foundation found that in America, married women with children suffer far less (half the rate) from both domestic abuse and violent crime than do single mothers.1 In China, researchers discovered that women who were cohabiting were more than twice as likely as married women to experience intimate partner violence, and their injuries were far more severe.2 The U.S. Department of Justice has consistently found that both men and women who are married suffer far less from violent crime than do the unmarried.3
There are many other ways in which it can be shown that the very things that feminists protest and march in favor of are the things that harm women. D. Paul Sullins at the Catholic University of America has found, for example, "a remarkably consistent" linkage between "the elevated risk of mental disorders" and having undergone an abortion. (He also found that, just as abortion is associated with decreased mental health, so live birth is consistently associated with better mental health.)4 And a recent, huge study of over one million women in Denmark discovered a significant linkage between the use of hormonal contraception (the pill, patch, shot, IUD, etc.) and an increased incidence of mental health disorders.5
There is yet more. Feminists want women in the workplace, but studies and surveys have repeatedly found that women who stay home with their children, or who work part-time while their children are small, report themselves happier than those who work full-time. Feminists want women to be independent from men—married if they wish, divorcing if the mood strikes them. But studies have consistently shown that both men and women who marry and stay married are happier, healthier, recover from illness better, and make more money than do their never-married and divorced or separated peers.
Complicit in Oppression
The "women are oppressed" narrative, seemingly espoused by most of the women (and feminist men) participating in International Women's Day, only goes so far. Yes, in some places, they are indeed oppressed. But marriage, childbearing, taking care of one's own children, staying off of hormonal contraception—all these things have been associated with less oppression and less unhappiness.
The feminist movement as a whole ignores this reality, and in doing so, is itself guilty of oppression. •Nicole M. King
is the managing editor of the Howard Center's quarterly journal, The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #41, Winter 2018 Copyright © 2019 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo41/in-harms-way