Woman candidates still face considerable barriers when running for political office, concludes research presented by the White House Project and American University’s Insititute for Women’s Policy Research at a press conference in Washington today. A bi-partisan study measuring voters’ responses to attempts by women candidates to communicate “toughness and effectiveness” found that women are judged more harshly by both men and women voters, particularly older women voters, according to pollster Celinda Lake. The strongest supporters of woman candidates are unmarried women under 55 – a group with record low turnout for the November 5 elections.
Woman candidates need to provide a proven record and show toughness on issues such as crime. Michigan’s Governor-elect Jennifer Granholm repeatedly had to prove her effectiveness even after presenting voters with a 79-page plan, considerably more detailed than her opponent’s five-page version, said Jill Alper, who worked on Granholm’s campaign. Meanwhile, woman candidates are disproportionately viewed in terms of their looks. Marie Wilson, president of the White House Project, noted that while she liked the woman candidates that were more informal and focused on the kitchen table type issues, that wasn’t the trend in the voter groups surveyed.
“We talked about a glass ceiling for women in politics, this election showed a steel trap door,” said Karen O’Connell, of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. While some felt that the results of the 2002-midterm elections represented a setback for women candidates, others felt that things actually looked better for women in 2002 in light of an especially tough election climate. Twenty-seven percent of the new governors elected in the November 5 election were women. A total of 124 women ran for seats in the US House of Representatives, just over the previous record for women candidates – 120 in 1996. A total of 59 women won House races, making the number of women to serve in the next Congress the same. The story was the same in the US Senate, with the total number of women serving remaining unchanged at 13.
Media Resources: White House Project 11/13/02; Feminist Daily News 11/6/02
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .