Last night at the Presidential debates we heard a great deal about Joe the Plumber. We've also heard from his similarly named, beer-swilling second cousin, Joe Six Pack. But what about Plumber Joe's wife? Or Joe Six Pack's sister, the John Stewart anointed Jane Wine Box? Well ol' Jane's not faring too well during this economic downturn. According to Newsweek, women are much more likely to be experiencing physical maladies like "headaches, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, overeating and chest pain" as a result of economic stress. In part, "the gender difference is probably attributable to…the extra family responsibilities carried by women, especially working women," Newsweek reports.The toll of these responsibilities is echoed by a report released last week by The Center for American Progress about women in poverty. You can read the entire report here, but blogger Feminist Finance pulled out most of the pertinent details: women are still paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and hours; occupations dominated by women are low paid; women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men; and women are more likely to bear the cost of raising children. John McCain spent a lot of time discussing the plight of small business owner Joe Wurzelbacher, so let's talk about Joe. It does not surprise me that the new poster child for the McCain campaign is white, male, middle American, and middle class. So maybe Senator McCain cares deeply about Joe the Plumber owning his own business, but he doesn't seem to care particularly for women getting equal pay. Barack Obama brought up Lilly Ledbetter, the Goodyear Tire employee who was systematically getting paid far less than her coworkers because of her gender. Senator Obama voted in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act when it came through the Senate. Mr. McCain didn't even show up to vote. In all of McCain's rhetoric last night, there was barely a mention of the American woman — unless he was talking about his deep pro-life convictions or mothering children with autism. The Worry Factor [Newsweek] Women In Poverty [Feminist Finance] The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty [American Progress] Earlier: Meet Lilly Ledbetter. She's A Good Reason To Vote Against John McCain
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