Socialism USA will open up many opportunities for women that currently are not available to all.
One of the main goals needs to be dismantling the patriarchal society that today puts women at a disadvantage.
We will need to reallocate resources to provide for women. The things that women need, however, are also human needs that also affect men, including access to health care, equal pay, education, recreational facilities, child care. Today not enough of these services are available and they are not affordable to many.
A more humane and personalized health care system is needed. Women should have access to full free health care under socialism. They should be able to choose freely services that work for them individually, without fear of repercussion or judgment, including mental, dental and alternative treatments. Women should be educated to understand all their health care options and not forced into “cost effective,” limited treatment as is done today for many.
Pregnancy and pre-natal care especially need attention. Pre-natal care insures that mother and child are healthy. It is not readily available to all women and it should be. When it comes time to give birth, the common practice today is to force women to go through a hospital emergency room. Alternatives such as midwives are discouraged. These alternatives work for many women and should be encouraged. Women used to stay in the hospital for days after giving birth. They were shown how to properly take care of their new babies. Today women are rushed out of the hospital and left to fend for themselves. Under capitalism these services have been cut to save money for big businesses that run most of the health care system. We should return to helping train new mothers in necessary things like how to nurse at home.
Currently, programs for mothers and children like the WIC nutrition program are cut off after a certain age or time period. They should be expanded and available for all who need them for as long as they need them. Child care, which affects mainly women, should be free and available at work and school so that mothers can be near their children and still carry on with their lives. Public funding should also be available for people who choose to have someone come into the home to help care for children. Mothers who choose to stay at home should receive the same benefits as those who choose to work outside the home. Taking care of a family is a full-time job, either way.
Socialism USA should provide an equal rights amendment, to include equal pay for equal work. Today this is something we are still struggling for. Women should have access to the same educational and work opportunities as men. Until people’s mindsets are changed, affirmative action programs would have to remain under socialism to guarantee these opportunities.
For young women, and all young people, we should provide safe places to go for recreational, educational and cultural experiences. Afterschool programs and others that have been cut need to be restored and expanded.
Sex education in the schools needs to be overhauled in a socialist society. A broad curriculum needs to be developed that will help educate young people about their bodies and help them make informed choices. It will also help to de-stigmatize many subjects that are considered taboo today. Sexuality needs to be openly discussed to help society feel comfortable.
Women should be able to walk safely when and where they want, without fear of attack. Rape and other sex crimes need to be severely punished, and the victim should not be further victimized, as is the practice in today’s legal system. Women and children who are sexually abused need to feel safe to report the predator without suffering further humiliation because of something that is not their fault to begin with.
Finally, sexual harassment of any sort should not be tolerated, from inappropriate comments and jokes to physical contact. This is not taken seriously by many today and needs to be addressed more consciously. The education should start in childhood and continue in adulthood to constantly remind people of appropriate behavior.
In short, under socialism women should be free to live and work in an environment that is safe and supportive of their choices in life.
Jenn Perna (firstname.lastname@example.org) is on the staff of theYoung Communist League.