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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  May 5, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, who's going to create more great jobs for women? then, the vatican takes on radical feminist nuns.
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behind the headlines: the burden of winning the nobel peace prize. >> hello, i'm bonnie er. welcome to "to the contry," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the war for women voters rages on. the war for women's votes continues this week with president obama and mitt romney each claiming he can create more jobs and prosperity for women. mitt romney, now winning the vote of married women, is relying heavily on his wife, ann, to rein in women voters. the obama campaign launched an interactive web app called "the life of julia," which guides users through an average middle
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class woman's life from age three to 67. it claims women fare better under obama policies. under a president romney for example, the tool cuts "julia's" benefits 40%. but romney' counters that president obama has created an economy that is 'hostile' to women. so, bay buchanan: who is right? >> women have done so badly under obama i don't know we could do any worse. those people that lost jobs women account for 9% of them. mitt romney will have pro-growth policy which will benefit women. >> for the president whose first built was pay equity bill. the vision for the economy is one that has affordable health care for women, medicare that's intact, student loans with interest rates that are reasonable. and loans for small business
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owners who happen to be women. that's the obama economy. >> if women went to beart of a state be taken care of by a -- which what we have seen so far i gas they can vote for obama. mitt romney clearly has a pro-growth agenda that will fix this economy and women will benefit as a result. >> president obama is much better for women and for women's health and economic rights than governor romney is. i think it's very clear that obama is the way to go. especially for young women who he has contraception act which is a huge issue. >> getting back to what you said. romney is talking about 40% cuts in social programs, women are 10-20% more likely to be on those programs, medicare, medicaid, social security, et cetera than men. how can you say they do better? >> the key is where you come from. there's a real injustice here to
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suggest that the thing women who care about most is contraception or this or that they are just like the rest -- like americans they compare about jobs first. the economy, outrageous spending going on in washington, the trillion dollar deficit. nobody, small businesses where women often thrive and yet regulation of obama are crushing small business out there. the tax policies that are now being proposed by obama will hurt them again. this is about the economy. and before women can do anything they have to be able take care of up this systems and their families. >> women do. but because women tend to get paid less are out of the workforce more often they do depend on certain government services. it's not as if women aren't going to do anything. the obama administration gave out 16,000 loans to women small business owners that came to about $5 billion. not like they weren't doing anything. for a lot of working women healthcare is the biggest expense whether for themselves or their family. fixing health care was critical. is critical. for women's economic well being.
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it's not something that you just do there and decide you want to fix it. it's a new issue for you for women it's central. >> that's wonderful. they gave out loans to small businesses. but under obama if the women-owned businesses are successful they will be tacked to death probably their businesses won't continue to be successful. or will have to -- won't be able to create jobs because obama care. it's great they can start businesses but then obama policy if you're successful we'll tax to you death and health care we'll force you to have certain type of government-run health care or else you are not -- >> let's not -- >> it's a double-edged sword. >> one other thing -- >> no, noz let's not blame president obama for consistent elevation of the 1% over everyone else in this country. >> the fact is, let's take a look at governor romney who can't decide how he feels about equal pay for women and waffledded consistently. who is trailing and sagging
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dramatically with independent women voters. one thing that we all think it's independent women voters decide this lesson. they are not going to governor romney. >> you know what is interesting, is that romney, like bush before him and reagan before him, is winning the white married women's vote. but not -- but losing women of lor, single women and older single women and younger single women substantially to president obama. who could president obama do to try to win back the vote of white married women? >> he needs to stop talking about the government in being infused in their lives and government is going to rescue them on everything. i saw this "life of julia" ad that they started. app. >> whatever it is. it's a brilliant idea. i give them credit for creativity because this is where republicans lose all the time. we lose on the emotional appeal and relatability to practical
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things. we're right when it comes to the numbers, we're right to what the idea of individual responsibility, creating jobs. but we lose in the pr battle because we don't put it in a way that makes it understandable to the average person. >> it's not a question of -- >> what's in this -- >> facts of it are really -- >> you know what -- but the idea of what they have done, this is what will happen in relatable way. democrats are winning. romney has to figure out -- >> let me tell you something a lot of women aren't going to look at an app. >> probably not. >> let's not even talk about the julia story which anybody can rebut. fact of the matter is, it's easy to do that. young people do that. i don't. >> here's the deal, there is an atmosphere, not a pr campaign thing, romney came out of a primary season where somehow women felt that the republican party was against them. he's in that clout and that separate -- then some statements that he made later or not saying
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anything when he was -- >> wait, let me just say this. there were two women came to speak at business conference they're not political people, they're from texas, senior executives. i said, what do you think about the elections? this woman said to me, you know one wants to take my money the other wants to take my rights. between the two, it's my rights i care about. the other woman who is an evp at company said to me, she said, i can't believe we're talking about contraception in this day and age. that is the cloud. see what i'm saying? nothing to do with your numbers, it's got nothing to do with apps has to do with a republican thrust that made women believe that the party is against them. >> let's make one thing clear. first of all governor romney has made it very clear he believes in equal pay that's a mistake there. two -- >> don't try to take -- >> and second point -- >> that's what is accurate. what you suggest is accurate we
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went through primary period and it was key that there was all kinds of talk about things that involved the republican party, where we are, who we're going to choose. we did not focus on obama's record for the last year. now we are turning, we're going to focus, americans did not realize that women have been so harmed and children have been so harmed by failed policies of this administration we're going to bring that to that -- this election will be about obama's record and what he can do to turn this economy around. he has no answers. >> i have to ask you, on the democratic side, were you surprised by how easy it was for romney once he became the presumed nominee to catch up with obama in the polls? >> only three points apart i thought this stage of the game -- >> catch up in general? >> in the polls. overall. >> no, because that's normal. once the nominees identified by either party they get a boost.
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in every other past election that is a pattern. but it's a long slide to november. right now when you break down the overall to male versus female as you say, obama is ahead among the women. you can break down his record and say he's nasty to him, not good enough, blah, blah, the fact of the matter is that during his tenure there are things he can point to. for instance, of course -- for instance, wanting medicare to remain intact. that's 87% female. >> but the pipe dream because medicare can't stay intact the way it is neither can social security. >> quickly, we have to move on. >> 80% of which to go back to contraception which has become a huge issue, no woman wants it to be. 08% of pinned den went women voters don't know romney's position. when they learn two-thirds oppose it. i think that goes back to why independent -- >> are you i will really --
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>> that's it. let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from voters to sisters. the leadership conference of women religious represents most of america's 57,000 nuns. the conference will meet in washington, dc late this month to respond to a recent vatican rebuke. the group was placed under the control of the archbishop of seattle after the vatican said it became dangerously dominated by quote, themes of radical feminism that are incompatible with catholic faith. those themes include ministering to gays and lesbians, the ordination of women, allowing catholic priests to marry and even the right to choose abortion. american nuns don't wear habits, no longer toil unpaid in catholic schools or hospitals and their numbers have dropped by two-thirds during the past 50 years. for man eye the habit became sort of what they called a
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portable cloister, something that separated them out, put them on -- kept distance from them and other members of the hierarchy so in abandoning that or deciding not to wear that it was not a matter of rejection of the church or rejection of history it was a matter of what would make us more accessible. what would enable us to do our mission. >> so, the nuns and again they don't represent all nuns but 80% of the 57,000 who are left which is a third of what it was five decades ago. what's going on between them and the vatican? is brewing for some time and how should they respond when they have their meeting later this month beginning of june? >> well, the vatican has turned very conservative. we now have new prayers that supposedly are much more tied to the old church. meanwhile, the nuns who are all about service have been servicing people over the years and they have seen the cost of
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poverty, they have seen what disease does. they are there in the very real way. so it's hard for them to chastise or say, you knowa certain group of people are all wrong or they shouldn't deal with them at all. so, their so-called feminism, as a feminist i find it hard to combine nuns-feminists. but if you're talking about being supportive of those who are lesser than in society, it opened their eyes and there for they tend to be liberal in terms of the church. >> it's nothing to do with politics. it's not anything to do with them being liberal or being in favor of obama care. this investigation started long before this. the key is, are they taking positions and advocating positions that are contrary to the basic tenants, religious believes of the catholic church. because they are representing the catholic church where they go as catholic nuns. they cannot that is against the rules of the church, you can't have it both ways.
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can't take it upon yourself the authority of catholic nun then preach that which is against the church not expect authorities to come down. >> that's what's going on here. it's a doctrineal discussion, not political amongst hierarchy of the catholic church. >> however, it's also about like whom they have invited to speak, you would think american nuns are much better educated than most nuns. and catholicism is thriving because of a huge influx of 80% uneducated immigrants. actually native born americans are leaving the church because of the constraints, because catholic church still operates at hierarchy does the same as it did in medieval times. they see opportunities and they're not joining the church. my question is -- they're not
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joining the -- not giving their lives away for free like they were. toiling for free up hospitals and schools and my question is, if the vatican keeps it up is it going down to 5,000 nuns in the united states as opposed to 57,000? >> the big picture view. because not only do we have the vatican and i want to be very clear that it's all male hierarchy of the roman catholic charge is out of step with the values of the catholic people. i want to part of family with a lot of nuns in the background, as well as priests. also have vatican going after the survivors' network of those by priests frying to bury them in mountains of requests for all volunteer organization. you have the vatican trying to get involved directly in private health insurce decisions here in this country. i think what we're seeing consistent pattern with all male hierarchy all by itself not
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including women in the decision making at all. losing touch completely with women leadership. really objecting to the idea that the nuns who are wonderful catholics and wonderful leaders in this country in helping the poor. but they have right to have their own opinions and -- >> you can probably get public opinion behind the nuns 'a hmong the catholics in this country. it's already doing that can influence the catholics like me who are arc ative catholics about their support of the church. >> a basic principle of the church. something that they believe is faith, part of their faith that the priesthood is for the male only. that is not going to stop. they would lose their authority as catholic church something that has been based on for years. i hear from you all that, it's a terrible thing they should change that. just -- this isn't a social club this is the catholic church. >> but that's the point here.
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>> this idea that they should change so more women come in to the church, that's ridiculous. >> if you don't like what the catholic church's doctrine is has been for hundreds of years don't become a catholic. you can -- >> it's the say conservative there were popes who were not as conservative -- >> john paul, for instance. but this particular pope is veer knowledge in another direction. >> that's his prerogative. i'm not a catholicut -- >> wait, one -- >> lot of hypocrisy, something that catholics need to take a look at a and reassess this is what they -- >> let me start -- >> let me point something out if i may. these two women are still catholics. you're a mormon, you left. maybe -- >> and i'd -- >> that's the key. they say shouldn't have their
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own opinions. of course they should have their own opinions and can certainly disagree think that the church should change. but you can't publicly, can't go out advocate as someone who has the authority, has the catholic nun. advocate something that's absolutely contrary to their doctrine and faith. want to try to change it from inside that's one thing. i chose another faith which i'm extraordinarily comfortable. >> let me tell you -- >> last word. >> jesus went to the least of us, that's the catholic doctrine that i remember. >> we're not criticizing that. >> the nuns are not contesting that they live it and so it's not as if they're opposing a church doctrine that never existed. that's the part of catholicism that must be remembered. >> we're out of time on the headlines. the burden of winning the nobel peace prize. peace prize winners travel the world as global ambassadors talking about their work. as the most recent winners,
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three women, share their stories of struggles against inequality, they also encourage women to empower their communities and confront inequality at home. liberia's first female president, ellen johnson-sirleaf, lirian activist leymah gbowee, and yemini journalist tawakkol karman. the women share the 2011 peace prize and now they're sharing the journey of advocacy. their work is a model for others trying to end inequality against women in their homelands: >> the nobel committee cannot license us to speak for women, but has provided us the platform to speak to women. women around the globe. [ applause ] >> she founder of women journalists without chains, tawakkol karman told us she accepted the award for her work empowering arab women. >> the head of the nobel peace
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prize committee said it is for tawakkol as a person and for her struggle for women's rights, human rights but she said it's also for arab spring. also for muslim, for islam that isn't against. >> she is intsifying her effort to empower women. she's encouraging them to serving as ambassadors of peace and reconciliation. gbowee, who grew up in a refugee camp during liberia's civil war, organized christian and muslim women to demonstrate together during the war. her organization was pivotal in ending that civil war. gbowee now leads a woman's movement in liberia that promotes peace. >> in a year at the community levels i have been able to see some of the gains we've made with our girl's proct. the gains i ve seen isoing to the communities where previously these girls would not speak up; they are now speaking
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out; they are getting involved in political activities. >> gbowee says that when it comes to improving the condition of women in africa, the work has just begun. >> in liberia, in other parts of africa teenage pregnancy is a serious issue. the rate at which we are going we won't see the next generation of young women leaders celebrating international women's day in 20 years if we don't address the reproductive health. >> the three are among only 15 men who ha beeawded the honor in the prize's 110 history. many believe this year's decision was a signal from the nobel committee about the growing importance of the global fight for women's rights. >> before i was a local girl, now i am a global girl. i can't say i will speak about reproductive rights and issues in liberia only. i have to connect it to other parts of the world becomes i have become a daughter of the world and an advocate of women of the world. >> gbowee's advice to future women's rights and peace
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advocates is to improve their homes and communities first. >> it is easier to turn a blind eye to the domestic violence in your community and to purge your conscience. to say i am putting money into advocating for domestic violence in columbia and mexico or some african country. when it comes to actual advocacy >> do you agree that the way to start globaly is act locally? >> of course. women are the ultimate peace builders in society and around the world. it's so exciting to see that the nobel prize is going to three women from around the world who are true leaders both as activists and political leaders. hillary rodham clinton made the statement that it's imperative for united states that it's national security threat to have the state of open equality for women around the globe.
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it's exciting to see this. >> younow, there's the 15 winners of the past winners of the nobel peace prize -- of the nobel prize have banded together, it's called the nobel initiative. and they are actively using their platform to actively advocate for whole host of issue that impact women and using their voices. i'm saying beyond the three, i'm delighted that they all won, beyond these three the other women are in fact using their notoriety and organizing together to advocate. women have always been the victims of war, women and children. then they there are to asked to rebuild it. this just formalizes that. >> i'm glad to see that nobel committee is starting to go back to awarding people who are worthy of the nobel peace prize, unlike obama a couple years ago. these women are heroes, they
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help to bring attention to exactly what irene was talking about, the horrors of what's going on with women in other parts of the country that we oftentimes in america don't pay attention to. and don't ream lies, this is wonderful inspiration particularly in africa and being female journalist in yemen courageous act in and off itself how oppressed women are to see them looking to these women as inspiration and role models is wonderful. the nobel prize -- >> there's no question they have done some great work you got to give them -- attribute them for that. but at the same time some of the things that they have pursued, the arab spring, that to me looks as if there is going to be radical islamic -- going to be ending up in charge of these places which is going to set women back far more. i'd like to so some focus on trying to break in to those communities somehow make certain that women, young women especially get some education
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they have the tools when they're older not to be forced out of schools. i don't give a hoot if they're allowed to drive a car focus on the important things. these ngos out there that provide loans for women in africa and arab and different places that allowed them to start their own business and take care of themselves. that is should be the focus. >> major step to recognize that it is important of achievement. there was a time look at nobel peace prize to some man who brokered peace in some way. to recognize three women as being the vehicle for that is a big deal. >> we're out of time. but also it's incredible the explosion of the attention to global women's issues that didn't exist 20 years ago, it's huge now. that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." next week: single mothers. please follow me on twitter @bonnie erbe and @tothecontrary and check our website,, where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to
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the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a copy of "to the contrary" please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.
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