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
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .