Last week, I had more women come in for pap smears and mammograms that on any other day of my working at this organization so far. One explanation? My schedule was bound to become busier at some point, and perhaps many women are just due for their annuals. Another explanation? Fear that this healthcare would not be affordable to them in the very near future. And now? I am going to the hospital and my clinics to provide midwifery care, to insured and uninsured women, breathing easily, excited for the next four years. More work needs to be done, but so much was accomplished solely through last week’s election.
Regarding the impact of the election on women, rights won thus far will be maintained, and work toward more rights will continue.
I have read numbers that 55% of women voted for the re-elected President Obama, 67% of single women voted for Obama, and black women represented approximately 69% of the Black electorate. A couple of things to think about with that number: (1) a majority of women voted for the elected official; (2) women are voting and are a strong voice in the voting world, and (3) women voters are being counted by those who count what matters in voting.
What specifically did women accomplish last Tuesday night? Here is the list I have found. And goodness, it is so heartwarming and empowering to watch all of these acceptance speeches at once!
Elizabeth Warren, first woman Senator elected in the state of Massachusetts
Tammy Baldwin, first Wisconsin woman, and openly gay woman, elected to the Senate
Tammy Baldwin, first Asian and first disabled woman, elected to Illinois Congress
Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin in the Senate race in Missouri
Importantly for everyone, Maine and Maryland become the first two states to pass marriage quality by popular vote, and Washington state passes marriage equality measure. This Gawker link has celebratory videos in all of those places.
My favorites of the fantastic information about women and voting that came up since last week:
- Ninety-Two Years of Women Voting, in Pictures – NY Mag
A beautiful montage of pictures of women voting across the decades, beginning with vintage Bill and Hillary Clinton.
- Black Women’s Response to The War on Women – Higher Heights for America, Vida Samuel and Elizabeth A. Sullivan at Howard UniversityAbstract “In the sixteen months between the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold these provisions, anti-choice legislators waged a war on women, seeking to roll back women’s rights. This is especially important for Black women who are overwhelmingly impacted by the proposed policies and whose voices are routinely drowned out of the discussion. In this critical election cycle, Higher Heights for America seeks to insert Black women’s perspective into the national narrative on the “War on Women”. This report provides a snapshot of the country’s nearly 22 million Black women, exploring their alarming health and socio-economic status as well as their growing political and economic influence, and offers suggestions on how to increase the involvement of these women in the policy debates that most impact their quality of life.”
- Women: The Silent Majority? – Jessica Valenti at The Nation“…Part of Republican’s cultural dissonance around feminist issues is that they drink their own Kool-Aid. When they say it’s rare for women to get pregnant from rape, it’s because they really believe it. When they frame abortion as the sinful refuge of promiscuous women, it’s because they actually think “good” women don’t terminate pregnancies. They don’t even fully trust rape statistics, instead choosing to believe that rape doesn’t happen to women who follow the rules. To them, sexual assault is mostly the unfortunate inevitability when women dress a certain way, drink, have consensual sex or do anything that transgresses traditional ideals of proper femininity.Too many in the GOP simply cannot imagine that the women in their communities, in their families—or even in their political party—have been touched by these issues. And when women are silent about their personal experiences, it furthers that cultural ignorance. That’s why it was easy for Mitt Romney’s campaign to say—and perhaps believe—that female voters didn’t care about the “war on women.” Republicans certainly underestimated how important these issues are to women’s lives because of sexism and misogyny—but mainstream women’s silence made it a lot easier for them to believe their own hype…”
- The Academic Feminist: Election Forum– Gwendolyn at Feministing
From Gwendolyn’s introduction: “I asked these feminist sociologists, historians, literary scholars, political scientists, and geographers what they thought was missing in current discussions about the election, and what they would draw our attention to instead. Their answers ranged from discussions about the now (in)famous “binders full of women” comment, to the inclusion of “women’s Issues” in the debates, to the effects that this election could have on women’s rights through the judiciary system. Non-US scholars also chimed in about the need to re-imagine what is possible politically. Without further ado, I present The Academic Feminist 2012 Election Forum!” See the link above for the interviewees and their responses!
- Yay! Obama won big last night. So, how’d all those GOP rape apologist candidates do? – Lori at Feministing
A wonderful listing of the men, their background, their offenses, and the election outcomes – check it out!
- White Guys Running the U.S. House Face Diverse Democrats– Timothy R. Homan on Bloomberg Businessweek“…Come January, women and minorities for the first time in U.S. history will hold a majority of the party’s House seats, while Republicans will continue to be overwhelmingly white and male. The chamber, already politically polarized, more than ever is going to be demographically polarized, too.‘One thing that’s always been very startling to me is to see that on the floor of the House of Representatives when you look over on one side where the Democrats caucus and you look to the other side and it looks like two different visions of America,’ Edwards, 54, a black woman who has served in Congress since 2008, said in a telephone interview…”
- A People of Color Majority Alters Politics, Movements Change the World– Rinku Sen at ColorLines”…The way the voting rights community has come together with groups like Color of Change, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and Take Action Minnesota has been astounding in the sheer volume of resistance, monitoring, problem-solving and communication. My social media feeds made it clear that people were looking after each other at the polls. The memes of this election for me will always be “stay in line!” and “don’t let anyone tell you you can’t vote!”And that’s the message I take into today. Stay until it’s done, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. The last four years has taught me that presidents matter, but movements matter more. Politicians, and everyday Americans too, do great things when movements make it impossible to do anything else. The tone and energy that went into preventing voter suppression, combined with the tone and energy of my polling place this morning, is what we need to ride for the next four years. It is an outraged, urgent force that changes how we look at things, combined with a respectful inclusiveness that enables everyone to participate.”
Did you find other great articles highlighting this awesome moment in history? Share them below!