January 11, 2019

This week on To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, our panelists discuss the controversy surrounding this year’s Women’s March and the effects of ageism on millions of Americans’ retirement plans.

On the panel this week joining host Bonnie Erbe is: Frmr. Rep. Donna Edwards; Megan Beyer, Wilson Center, Women In Public Service; Jennifer Higgins, GOP Political Strategist; Sabrina Schaeffer, Chariman, Independent Women’s Forum Leadership Circle .

Women's March 2019

Organizers vow to march on with this year's edition amid controversy.

  • Rachel O’Leary Carmona, COO Women’s March 14:00 I've had had in the course of conversation at women's march extraordinarily problematic and painful things said to me, and to my mind the choice is to remain at the table anyway, to stay in the conversation.

  • Fmr. Rep. Donna Edwards: One of the challenges of the broader women's’ movement [has always been] to make it a more inclusive movement, so that women of color feel like they have a voice at the table, at the leadership table, at the decision-making table.

  • Jennifer Higgins: The Women’s March started something, I think we saw some of that with the midterm election. I would have loved for that movement to have been more aggressive on the Republican side, unfortunately it was not. But in the absence of that, I think it’s OK for us to have a lot of different types of women’s groups gathering together to fight for the same sort of common goal.

  • Bonnie Erbe: Is the Women’s March falling pray in some way, shape or form - obviously it’s still a force to be reckoned with... but, with [talk of] not really doing anything in response to complaints of anti-Semitism... this talk about ‘it’s entirely white women...’ are we getting too much into... internecine interests?

  • Sabrina Schaeffer: Historically, marches can be a very effective public opinion tool, but the Women’s March and the Unity Principles, they need to recognize that there are a lot of different viewpoints out there, and hopefully they’ll be more inclusive

  • Megan Beyer: The march that mattered was the one we saw of women marching to vote in November, rendering is the most gender equal Congress we’ve ever seen.


Ageism

Millions of Americans forced into retirement because of this insidious bias.

  • Anna Maria Chavez: if a man and woman are both laid off, women are disproportionately impacted negatively by that layoff because they probably have less resources saved, whether in retirement plans, whether in savings, whether in equity in a home, because they probably developed wealth at a slower pace than a man.

  • Sabrina Schaeffer: If you were working on a farm, you get to a point where you maybe can’t do that physical labor, now, we think about people getting older and getting more experience, more contacts, and more value, really, for a business. It’s interesting if we don’t think about people as adding value as they age, this is in large part a cultural reframing that we have to have in conversation.

  • Fmr. Rep. Donna Edwards: We really need to think about what the retirement age is. There’s been this discussion about raising the Social Security retirement age. I’d like to have more of a conversation, which happens in some countries, about lowering the retirement age, about allowing people from 50 to 70 to buy into Medicare, which then brings all of our healthcare costs over. So I do think there are real conversations on the policy end.

  • Jennifer Higgins: The thing that scares me is to think that women are not in a position to choose their retirement anymore, it’s being chosen for them. And so the idea that you can have a job and look over your shoulder between 50 and 70, and wonder at any moment if you’re going to get taken out to pasture if you will, is very disconcerting.

  • Bonnie Erbe: For the boomers, old people started at 50. Now you are considered old at 40. It’s getting younger, and younger, especially with techies.

  • Megan Beyer: Look at the fight we just had in Congress, and who came out on top? Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi didn’t start her career until she was about 50. She has five children, she wanted to get them launched. And then she started her career. Can you imagine if they put her out to pasture, at the what would have been the beginning? And look at all the leadership she’s given this country.


Be sure to tune in this week for more discussion! Click here to check your local listings.