Dr. Jill Biden Earned Her Degree

It is not an honorific, Mr. Epstein, unlike yours.

Shame on you, Wall Street Journal, for perpetuating misogynistic behavior towards women. This Op-Ed is a disgrace to your prestigious reputation and to our society in general. What were you thinking?

As a middle-class, generally conservative (but maybe more progressive than I used to be) woman, I am completely offended at this article. In college, taking journalism classes, I was taught that our media had ethical responsibilities to its readership and society. But more and more, those ethical standards are missing.

I understand that this is an opinion piece, but in printing this piece, the Wall Street Journal showed poor judgement at best and certainly malfeasance. No paper should print anything that creates an injustice toward another human being. Printing this is an injustice to half of all Americans — women.

Dr. Jill Biden is a hard working woman who earned her master’s degrees and then her doctorate in Education. And yes, there will be a doctor in the White House, just not a medical doctor. Mr. Epstein, who by-the-way only holds an honorary degree, purports that only an M.D. is a real doctor.

But there other kinds of doctors — Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy,) and Ed.D. (Doctor of Education.) Scholars who earn those titles (and it is not an honorific if you earn it) also use the title of doctor. It is their right to use it because they have worked hard to earn it. Dr. Biden should proudly use it, too.

And no, Mr. Bawer, this is not about the ‘Cancel Culture’ ranting and raving about nonsense. This is about equality and equity. I know women who earned their masters degrees in engineering who were the first to lose their jobs during workforce reductions and were not able to find work in the field they love. Others have been told they do not hold their degree at all, despite the diploma that proves otherwise.

This is about standing up to hundreds of years of women being put down or held back. Good men will no longer allow this to happen to women, nor will they condone it when another man does it. If she were a man, this would not have been said.

And although our constitution guarantees everyone in the U.S. the right to Freedom of Speech, that does not mean that newspapers should print it. Would the WSJ have printed an op-ed piece that spouted Klu Klux Klan rhetoric? I highly doubt it. Nor should they. This piece is in the same vein.

Women’s rights in America

We celebrate our country’s independence July 4, 1776. It took almost 150 years before women had the right to vote — August 26, 1920, just 15 years before my mother was born. Even through the 30’s and 40’s, women had to give up their jobs after they became wives, tying them financially to a man.

Why? So that they didn’t take a job from a man. Even when they were employed, the most acceptable professions were those of teacher and nurse. Today, women still make $.70 on the dollar compared to men. Let’s not forget how disproportionately COVID-19 has impacted women’s economic stability.

As a retired teacher (I taught for 23 years in public schools), I have often been frustrated that I had no voice, even in my own profession. Our mostly male representatives pass laws that affect us, and often not for the better.

Women, by far, are the largest group of Americans who live below the poverty line. I am unable to draw social security I earned because of laws related to my states teacher’s pension. Because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), I lose ⅔rds of what I should draw, even from my husband’s.

I could qualify for food stamps and Medicaid without my husband’s financial support.

During the 1970’s, there was a little amendment to our constitution that somehow never could get ratified — The Equal Rights Amendment. The biggest stumbling block? The idea that women might have to fight on the front lines in a war. Really?

My mother’s response to that was, “Well, why is it so much better that a man is shot at?” And, of course, it is not better. Why shouldn’t a woman be expected to defend her own country. If the fighting came to our doors, she would have to, so train her how to do it.

Under-representation of women in politics

Women seem to have great difficulty getting elected to office. In my own town, our city council is made up of men. This past election, we had four women run against these incumbents. Not one was elected. Why? Good question. Even my city government lacks the diversity of the community.

At the national level, although women represent half of all Americans, there are fewer than 25% in Congress (25% in the Senate, 23.2% in the House.) Why? Could it be because our two-party system doesn’t seek out qualified female candidates? Do the parties work to support them to run for office?

That is one possibility, but there is another. That women who might run, don’t because they will have to face the kind of ridicule put forth against Dr. Biden. And they would likely be correct in that concern. Haven’t we seen women who stand their ground and represent their constituents put down in Congress?

Or — they may feel unqualified because after being told they are not enough all their lives, they may believe it. This is the biggest injustice. Women have the capability of mind that men have, even if they may not have the same size or physical strength due to lack of testosterone to build muscles.

Women can be scientists, mathematicians, doctors, lawyers, and politicians. They can do things that men are not biologically capable of doing, giving birth, which I would argue shows how strong they truly are. My mother-in-law used to say that if the man had the first child and the woman had the second, there would not be a third.

Sarah Olson Michel said it well in her post about this same article. It’s worth your read as well.

Women’s Rights Matter

So we must remember, as we fight for equality and justice for all, to defend your grandmother’s, mother’s, sister’s, daughter’s, neice’s, and wife’s rights as well as those who have more recently demonstrated in large numbers.

Don’t be silent about this treatment of women. Don’t sit back and just take it. Don’t allow the women in your life to be undervalued. Be the change women need to be treated equally.

Women’s rights matter, too.

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Pat Davis, a retired teacher and editor of Simply Living and Living Simply, lives with her husband and neurotic cat, Neko. She loves to read, write, travel, bake, garden, sew, and craft. Top writer in Food and Cooking.

Pat is a certified ELA, speech, and drama teacher. She enjoys writing, reading, baking, gardening, and crafting. Top writer in Food and Cooking.

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