May 10, 2019

This week on To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, our panelists discuss whether female presidential candidates are being treated unfairly, a surprising new study about moms and housework, and how to stay safe while traveling alone.

On the panel this week joining host Bonnie Erbe is: Patricia Sosa, Progressive Commentator; Patrice Onwuka, Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women’s Voices; Latifa Lyles, Fmr. Dir. Women’s Bureau, US Dept. of Labor; and Rina Shah, Republican Strategist.

Click read more to see what they had to say!

2020 Gender Bias

Are female presidential candidates being treated unfairly?

  • Patrice Onwuka: ”The media plays a role here. I mean, the spreads that we’ve seen of Beto O’Rourke with him in his blue jeans and with his dad, with a beer and all of that, really trying to boost his likeability. I think it actually does make it really hard when you have some folks that are pushing Beto one day, one day they’re pushing Bernie in the media. And they’re not giving attention to women, who I will totally disagree with all of the policies coming out of Elizabeth Warren, but I will say that she is actually putting some policies out there.”

  • Patricia Sosa: “It’s exacerbated by the fact that the Democratic base is so desperate to defeat Trump. And that is a problem because they’re like, ‘Whomever looks like he’s gonna defeat Trump…’ And I say ‘he’ because people truly believe that this is not the moment to take a risk.”

  • Latifa Lyles: “Elizabeth Warren has been working very hard ... arguably the longest, on the road, doing the traditional grassroots work to get elected. And I would also say I probably would like to have a beer with Elizabeth Warren. I think she would be kind of interesting to have a beer with.”

  • Rina Shah: “It’s a different set of lenses we wear when we look at the females versus the males, because that notion of likability goes back to the business world of many, many years ago. When you can sit and have a beer with someone. Do you wanna sit and have a beer with your President?”

  • Bonnie Erbe: “At this point in the game, most voters don’t know. So it’s really name recognition and cultural biases. Why didn’t the #MeToo movement change all this already? Why didn’t Second Wave Feminism change it? This is not a new problem.”

Moms & Housework

New study shows single moms do less housework than married moms

  • Patrice Onwuka: ”Moms wanna be the best moms and that means making sure the kids are ready for school, teeth brushed, bellies full and all of that. And so, I do understand that there [are] some personally-imposed pressures - myself especially - on wanting to make sure that everything is done, done the right way, and my way. And I do, when speaking with other new moms, we all say the same thing: yeah, we wanna make sure everything is running the way we want it to run.”

  • Patricia Sosa: “Well, I grew up in a household where my mother was very conscious of [traditional gender roles], and we’re talking about the seventies. She was very demanding of my dad which was very radical in Puerto Rico, imagine that, super traditional. I do disagree with you. It is tradition. It’s not malicious, it’s just tradition. And the thing is that it’s putting a lot of stress in women that feel they have to be Little Miss Perfect. I have to cook, I have to clean, I have to do all of these things. And are not demanding of men to share in the burden.”

  • Latifa Lyles: “I think the pressure to conform to a stereotype is stronger than ever, especially the data showing how this bears out for working moms and non-working moms who are married. And that there’s this pressure if you’re working too, that you’re not fitting the mold.”

  • Rina Shah: “In my generation, I remain completely encouraged by the fact that I see so many men and women through friends and even acquaintances talk openly about how relationships have changed. And I know that I’m in a very traditional marriage where, unfortunately, my husband is the major breadwinner now, but he always says to me, ‘Hey, if you’re gonna make the big bucks, I can’t wait to be the stay-at-home dad. And he lays out a plan and a pathway for me to go get that. It’s possible for me because he makes it possible.”

  • Bonnie Erbe: “I remember we did a story ten years ago that somebody surveyed the average income of families on television, and it was two hundred grand a year, which of course is way above the average income of the average American family. And so, it may be true in social media, it’s also true in television.”

Traveling Solo

The risks for women who visit foreign countries alone

  • Keri Potts, VP of Pathways to Safety: “I was assaulted by a Roman citizen. And it was quite physical, the assault. He was trying to rape me, he had locked me into his apartment. Even though I had expressed a non-desire, not only to not have sex, but to end the night, ultimately I wind up maybe six hours after meeting him, hanging off a six story building, fending him off, and then you know, escaping.”

  • Megan Specia, The New York Times: “We know that women disproportionately face violence in public spaces that men don't face. We saw a statistical rise in solo female travel in general, but we actually found a dearth of information. There was really no statistics available to understand what this means for women who travel abroad. We didn't see figures out there for numbers of attacks. And that was something that was actually quite concerning to us.”

  • Latifa Lyles: ”The thing that this raises for me as somebody in a country where people of color and women of color are, too, also we police ourselves in how we move around and safety. And there is safety in communities and some communities that are not safe. Even at home. And I think lots of cohorts and friends that I have who are women of color traveling take that approach to where we don’t travel in our backyards sometimes by ourselves because we’re afraid of being attacked.”

  • Patricia Sosa: “I do international work. I travel a lot. I travel a lot by myself, at least to get there and get to some of the meetings. I’m incredibly conscientious of how I do things, very conscientious about safety. But things can happen, because some of these countries are very unsafe. It’s unsafe for the women from those countries, even more for you [because] they know you’re a foreigner.”

  • Rina Shah: “I think every country can be unsafe, it’s just about knowing your surroundings. I’ve traveled extensively alone, prior to meeting my husband, and was happy to do so because I was raised up as a girl that thought I could do anything. So when I saw men hiking alone - I grew up in wild wonderful West Virginia - I just thought I could do anything from going to a cosmopolitan city to going to the mountains, I was never scared. But now, in my now mid-thirties, I have two daughters now too, I was just recently on a trip a few months ago where I was gonna be alone for a period of time in a foreign country, and I remember getting ready for it and being very careful about what I wore.”

  • Bonnie Erbe: “So, more and more women are traveling abroad alone, but shouldn’t the trend be in the other direction - join a group if you want to stay safe?”


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