Women's Day/Month - Need To Do Better
EDITORIAL: The State of SC Women.
It should be a priority of the next Governor of South Carolina. Or maybe even the next Vice-President of the United States, since there is considerable buzz that former SC Gov. Nikki Haley will replace former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence when President Trump wins re-election in November.
Yes, Haley had the chance to do it when she occupied the Governor’s seat in South Carolina; but, in fairness, she had a bunch of other stuff going on. What did she have the chance to do? Glad you asked. The next Governor, or VP, should convene The Governor’s Summit on the Women of South Carolina.
Start with this - South Carolina still does not have a standalone felony-offense law against strangling and/or suffocating a person. Forget the 21st, we’re not even in the 20th Century on this issue. It is no wonder, then, that WalletHub rates South Carolina one of the worst states in the nation regarding the condition of women. We are 43rd out of 51 in “Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth,” and one of the reasons is this - in South Carolina, women are very likely to be killed by their domestic partner, usually a man.
During Haley’s Governorship, lawmakers passed the most sweeping law to date related to criminal domestic violence. Affecting Laurens County, the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has its own, dedicated Criminal Domestic Violence Task Force. All these are encouraging signs. Still, our women are dying.
Just a little more about the WalletHub survey, “Woman-Friendliness of South Carolina 1=Best, 25=Average”. In just three categories are we better than average - in no category are we in the Top 15 (51 = the 50 states and the District of Columbia).
In the category “High School Graduation Rate for Women,” we are 5th from the bottom.
Our three “good” categories are these:
-- 18th, unemployment rate for women,
-- 22nd, share of women-owned businesses,
-- 22nd, share of women who voted in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Life expectancy and graduation rate are our lowest categories. WalletHub issued this report because March is Women’s History Month - it observes that women hold only 23.7% of the seats in Congress despite making up 51% of the U.S. population. Not even 1 of the 9 SC Congressional members is a woman.
The SC Commission on Women did an admirable job bringing these issues to public attention - between 1971 and 2003. Then, ex-Gov. Mark Sanford issued a veto from the Appalachian Trail and they did not have money. The current General Assembly should take the initiative to bring this money back - since most of them have mothers - and the best place to start would be The Governor’s Summit on the Women of South Carolina.
A Timely Reminder
It looks like cold weather is behind us, but this still is a timely reminder. Check on your elderly neighbors when it is Arctic-cold. We are reminded of this duty by SYNERGY HomeCare, which advises people to become a Cold Weather Companion “to a local senior – whether they are a loved one, a neighbor or a stranger. It’s tough enough to cope with this weather, but when you’re a senior, you face even more danger.”
Specifically, this reminder is “urging people to check-in on seniors to make sure their homes have heat, the fridge is stocked, and prescriptions are filled. ... Families taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s should take extra precautions to ensure their loved one doesn’t wander outside in the frigid temperatures. (Did you know three out of five Alzheimer’s patients will wander?) Nearly half of all hypothermia deaths happen to people over age 65. Many of these deaths can occur right in their own homes because seniors don’t feel the dip in degrees due to dementia or medication that can affect awareness.”
Remember, also, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office provides a free service that can apply a tracker to anyone who might be in danger of wandering. It could be the difference, literally, between life and death.