Editorial: Where are all the women?

By The Beacon | February 21, 2012 9:00pm

(The Beacon)


A week ago, two female congressional Democrats walked out of a House hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule. Both women accused the Republican chairman of manipulating committee rules to prevent female witnesses from testifying. The five witnesses on the panel were male religious leaders and professors, including a Catholic bishop.

"What I want to know is, where are all the women?" Rep. Carolyn Maloney asked. "I look at the panel, and I don't see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventative health care services, including family planning."

The chairman said religious freedom, not contraception, was the issue of the hearing.

But does that change the question? Where are all the women?

Even if the hearing was just about religious freedom, women should have been involved in the discussion. Men are not the only religious beings.

Much like the Church, our own University asserts male dominance. Every administrator on the president's leadership team is male. White males, at that.

Though the University has begun to make positive changes with the promotion of Laurie Kelley to associate vice president of University Relations and Sharon Jones as the dean of the School of Engineering, it is still a long way from stepping away from the Church's patriarchal standard.

Sixty percent of our University's student population is female, so why is the administration predominantly male?

If it walks like sexism, talks like sexism and acts like sexism, it is sexism. And the Catholic Church and our University are still walking, talking and acting sexist in many of their traditions.

The Catholic Church has a tendency to use the excuse of history in defending many of its sexist actions, beliefs and rules, especially regarding women. This allows us to say, "I'm not sexist. The Bible is."

But, this is no excuse for our University not to progress with the times.

There has been a lot of discussion on campus recently regarding a woman's right to contraception and the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. In the bigger picture, men are leading these debates and so called "discussions."

Considering it is women who will have to live with the outcomes of these decisions, it only makes sense to include them in the debates.

Not only does the Church deny women the possibility to be ordained, in 2010 the Vatican issued a document that essentially equated pedophilia with the ordination of women, deeming both "graviora delicta," or grave offenses.

We bet you can guess the gender behind these claims.

As the Catholic Church continues to fight for its beliefs, adaptation to the modern world's beliefs and practices is also necessary. Religion should not be able to escape that. Men and women do not hold the same roles in society that they did 50, 100 or 1,000 years ago. Yet, the Church does not reflect that change.

If the Church and our University aim to follow in the footsteps of Christ, they should aim to embrace diversity. Many women may not find our University to be an appealing work environment if its leadership team is entirely men.