Gender affects public opinion, decision-making, voting behavior, and political involvement at all levels – national, local and on campuses.
The feminists of the 19th and early 20th century envisioned a day when women would not only vote, but also when women’s votes would affect the outcome of elections, and would create a more compassionate, nonviolent society. Such a society would outlaw child labor, aid the poor, treat the sick, care for the elderly, end war as well as violence toward women, and educate the young.
The gender gap in voting is a powerful weapon for women to win equality, reproductive freedom, and a change in the spending priorities of the nation. What the suffragists had envisioned at the turn of the century has now happened at the end of this century. Women are influencing the agenda of the nation with their votes.
William Jefferson Clinton is the first president of the United States elected by the gender gap. Not only did a majority of women vote for Clinton – if only men had voted in 1996, Bob Dole would be the President. The gender gap in favor of Clinton was fueled by women’s concerns about Medicare, Social Security, education, and abortion rights. Men placed greater emphasis on taxes and the deficit in their presidential voting.
Today the under representation of women in the decision-making spheres of all the major areas of our society – elections and appointed office, in business, executive suites, in college and university administration, law, medicine, science, athletics, media and religion – leads to a devaluation of women’s concerns, needs, and issues. Most importantly, the under representation of women in leadership roles leads to a narrowing of choices not only in leadership itself but also in options for decision-making. The under-valuing of women’s talents and contributions to decision-making hurts not only women and girls but also our society as a whole.
If women were equally represented in Congress and state legislatures today, the issue of reproductive choice for women would be settled and the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be ratified. Additionally, affirmative action for women and people of color would remain intact until discrimination had ended, and spending for family planning, health care, the elderly, education, and the poor would be dramatically increased. This is not just wishful thinking – public opinion poll after poll shows a major gender gap on all of these issues. Moreover, studies with elected officials show these same gender gaps (Center for the American Woman and Politics). gender gap on all of these issues. Moreover, studies with elected officials show these same gender gaps (Center for the American Woman and Politics).
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. . . .