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It’s time to end the war on women

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Two stories last week pointedly illustrated that we are sliding backwards in our attempts to ensure equality for women.

It should not surprise anyone that even supposed liberal stalwarts like Harvey Weinstein are accused of being sexually harassing pigs.

Just because he produced a documentary on campus rape and endowed a Gloria Steinem Chair of Women’s Studies at Rutgers doesn’t at all excuse predatory behavior that allegedly spanned decades.

What is surprising — and disheartening — is that many progressive Democratic leaders have gladly accepted his campaign donations over the years. Surely they — and their fund-raising staff — must have been aware of Hollywood’s worst-kept secret: Weinstein was a lascivious boor who preyed on actresses so eager to advance their careers that they stayed silent even after experiencing his overt harassment.

And what about Weinstein’s brother, Bob, and the nine male board members of the Weinstein Company — each and every one of them are guilty enablers who also deserve society’s scorn.

Evil can only flourish when good people look the other way.

And it seems clear they did.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of Harvey Weinstein’s and Roger Ailes’s roaming the fertile offices around America looking for young women to exploit and harass. This is an age-old problem but we should all finally wake up and defend our co-workers when we see this kind of behavior in our midst.

As the father of three daughters, I worry about what work environment they will enter after they complete college, which has its own set of problematic male-female issues.

Will the male-dominant corporate culture allow them to advance as easily as their male peers?

Will they be able to have close mentorships with older men without the sexual power politics that we are still witnessing way too often?

Lena Dunham, an incredibly powerful and articulate voice for her generation, wrote a scathing opinion piece in the New York Times rightfully blasting all the silent men in Hollywood who have even now been slow to condemn Weinstein.

“Speak up, much louder,” she poignantly implored them.

She is absolutely right. Where is Matt Damon and George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino and all the men who benefited from Weinstein’s movies? Surely they have wives, daughters, sisters, nieces who are prey to this antiquated and vile behavior. Where are their voices now that one of their own has been exposed so shockingly?

Overshadowed by stories of the president’s unhinged tweets about North Korea and Weinstein’s lurid predation was another vile missile fired in the war on women: the Trump administration is rolling back an Obama administration regulation that ensured employers helped their employees have access to free contraception.

This one is particularly vile: An administration and a Republican Party that wants to curb a woman’s right to choose is now changing the rules in a way that will ensure many more unwanted pregnancies.

And abortions.

Well done, you D.C. morons.

Tom Allon, president of City & State NY, was a Republican and Liberal Party-backed mayoral candidate in 2013 before he left to return to the private sector. Reach him at tallon@cityandstateny.com.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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