Sunday, March 26, 2017

Current Events: What Do These Photos Have in Common, or What's Wrong with These Images?

Top image from The New Arab; bottom image from CNN.

If you have been paying attention to the news, you may know the answer to both title questions.  Take a good look at both images, and you will notice that no women are present at either meeting.  So what is wrong with that?  Both meetings were held to discuss topics of vital concern to women!  The first photo was taken at the inaugural meeting of the Qassim Girls Council in Saudi Arabia, where 13 men were seated onstage while participation by women was limited to a video link to an unknown number of women in a separate room, including Princess Abir bint Salman, the chair of the council.  In my opinion it would have made more sense for the women to be seated onstage while the men participated via video-link!

The second, more recent photo shows a White House meeting between President Trump and members of the House Freedom Caucus to discuss stripping the requirement that health insurance plans cover certain benefits, including maternity, newborn, and pediatric services, from the now defunct American Health Care Act.  Surely these issues are just as important, if not more so, to women, so why were no women present at this meeting?  Perhaps there are no female members of the House Freedom Caucus, but are there no women in Trump's administration important enough to attend?  Even the presence of Trump's daughter Ivanka, who is after all a mother herself, would have made some sense, unlike her presence at other presidential meetings.  And not surprisingly, in the following image of President Trump signing an order banning federal funding for international organizations that even mention abortion services as an option, he is surrounded by only men:

There are indeed women who oppose abortion, so why were they not invited
to this photo opportunity?  Is Ms. Conway sitting on the couch again?
(From Scary Mommy)

Even more embarrassing was a rather thoughtless comment by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts in reference to mammograms, suggesting that men should not have to contribute to health insurance coverage for these tests.  Not only do mammograms save a significant number of lives, they are also necessary for some men, because men do also get breast cancer.  I would hope that men would like to see insurance coverage for prostate screening, as it is the second most common cancer in men and is easily treatable if detected early.  As a woman I have no problem with the thought of helping to cover the cost of this test even though I personally would never need it, so I do not understand how mammograms could be an issue at this point, even in jest.

Okay, I will get off of my soapbox now, but I really do have a problem with the idea that around the world issues important to women are being discussed without direct input from women.  Maybe if enough of us are willing to point this out then the situation will at least change in our nation.  Or maybe I am being overly optimistic?  I hope that is not the case!

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