Over the past several weeks, Rep Noem has been touting her sponsorship of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2016. There were some aspects of the press release that annoyed me, but I ignored it like everybody else. (It garnered zero comments over at Dakota War College). But then it showed up in my facebook feed, and in my local newspaper. My annoyance boiled over and I decided to dust off the blog.
So what’s not to like? Here’s what annoyed me…
This bill isn’t needed. American society is already recognizing the importance of women without this bill. Recall Hillary Clinton? As Secretary of State, she was our nation’s top diplomat. Later this year, Clinton will likely become our nation’s President. Additionally, the United Nations Security Council has already adopted seven resolutions over the years that address the same issues. Noem’s bill is unnecessary, duplicative, and adds additional cost and bureaucracy to an already inefficient government.
“A peace agreement is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years when women are involved.” That statistic is quoted in Noem’s facebook post, her press release, and in the bill itself. It came across as sexist and far fetched. It also seems to be the raison d’etre for this bill. I tracked the source of this statistic to this study. Let’s take a closer look:
The data-set that the author uses goes back to 1975, but the author appears to have excluded much of the data from the study. There’s no explanation why the author excluded so much data. Draw your own conclusions there.
- The author notes that the, “presence of women was not the only significant predictor of lasting peace.” There are many other factors such as democracy that played an important role. In fact, the author noted that democracy and women’s participation are often linked, and that it’s really societal equality and
good governance together that encourage a lasting peace.
“Women’s rights language in the text of the peace agreement was also statistically analyzed, and the results actually revealed a negative impact on the duration of peace.” This also demonstrates that there’s much more to a lasting peace than the involvement of women.
“This quantitative analysis does not capture the number of women involved in each case nor the extent of their involvement.”
It would appear that the study’s author cherry picked data to support her arguments. Even then, the author notes that the presence of women is often linked to a democratic society, and that, in turn may be the significant predictor of lasting peace. Finally, the study was not able to determine the number of women involved in each case or the extent of their involvement. To sponsor an affirmative action bill for women based on an incomplete and speculative study seems appropriate Sen. Barbara Boxer, (the sponsor for the senate version of the bill), but I thought Rep. Noem had more sense than that.
In the spirit of sponsoring sexist legislation based on insufficient and coincidental data, I present to you the Men, Budget, and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2016. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the nation’s cumulative debt and the number of women in Congress.
The Men, Budget, and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2016 recognizes the importance that men play in restraining federal spending. As such, the bill encourages more men in critical appropriations roles through Congress. Additionally, the bill requires the Speaker of the House to develop a compressive plan for training female appropriators on responsible spending.
Ridiculous? Yes. But is it really that different from Noem’s sexist legislation based on insufficient and coincidental data?