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letters | power of the vote

Many reasons women may seek a ‘safety net’

Arnold Koch showed a surprising lack of curiosity in his Jan. 7 letter “More women means more liberalism.”

Why does he think that women might favor more of a government “safety net”?

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The persistent unequal division of caretaking labor, the systematic impoverishment of women through divorce, the practically unmovable gender gap in pay (linked to continuing gender-based segregation in the workforce), and the unfairness of a Social Security system that penalizes women for their unpaid mothering labor together mean that women need the safety net more, especially as they age and become responsible for the care of others.

Koch also fails to mention that in at least one case — the size and scope of military interventions — men prefer far more government than women.

The excellent main point of Swanee Hunt’s Jan. 2 op-ed, to which Koch was responding, was that parties ignore the preferences of women (and minorities) at their peril; those who think like Koch would do well to heed her advice.

Or perhaps we should take Koch’s point to its logical conclusion and just revoke women’s right to vote.

Shauna L. Shames

Cambridge

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