Skip to content

Maybe “Lady” isn’t always enough.

November 8, 2012

We have a lot to celebrate after Tuesday (and we did, with our Obama cake!). This election was a rejection of the anti-women’s health agenda that some in Congress have pursued for the last two years and that Mitt Romney would have continued. This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and state legislatures all around the country that women do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril.

We have a lot to be proud of. We had a record-breaking number of female senate wins, we have the first openly lesbian senator, and we now have a state (NH) with an entire delegation of females (and a female governor to boot!). This has already been touted high and low as the “year of the woman.”

And I don’t like it. Of course representation is important, and gender parity in government is an awesome goal. We have not achieved it yet. And it’s easy to forget that not all of the women in office will support pro-women policies.

Lots of women aren’t so good on our issues. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t forgotten about Sarah Palin yet. Soon, America is going to have 5 governors who are women – and it seems all 5 of them oppose abortion rights. Connecticut voted down Linda McMahon in favor of PPAF-endorsed candidate Chris Murphy for Senate. McMahon has a mixed record on reproductive rights, and Murphy has a 100% score from Planned Parenthood Action Fund. And here in the Hudson Valley, we defeated freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth, and replaced her with someone much friendlier to our cause, Sean Maloney. Nan is a woman – part of this huge surge of female elected officials – and it didn’t stop her from voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

There has also been a lot of celebration surrounding the defeat of two republicans who said some pretty insensitive things concerning rape. Todd Akin (Pregnancy from “legitimate” rape isn’t an issue because they body “shuts that whole thing down”) and Richard Mourdock (pregnancy caused by rape is “something God intended to happen”) were both defeated, by Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly, respectively. But just because we “legitimately shut that whole thing down” doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. McCaskill doesn’t support marriage equality, and Donnelly voted for a bill that would have denied federal abortion funding even in cases of rape and incest. Twice.

I like how Ann Friedman puts it:

“The ‘Year of the Woman’ narrative just goes to show that we’re still labeling women’s marginal electoral successes as outliers — more wishful thinking than watershed moment…Someday, when we crack the parity point — 50 percent representation at all levels of government — with strong candidates who aren’t running against a surge of sexist rhetoric but on a proactive agenda, we’ll be able to accurately call it the Year of the Woman. But if we’ve made it that far, I’m pretty sure we probably won’t be using the label anymore.”

That being said, we are still ecstatic here about our victories. Click here to sign our open letter to Sean Maloney to congratulate him.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: