Women who vote and why it matters.
Updated: Nov 5, 2020
"Women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980, making them a powerful force."
Women have had a rough start when it comes to equal rights and voting and I think that is part of the driving force of the polling numbers. Despite the progress, women remain underrepresented in government. A reality that many women say will continue to drive their fight well beyond election day. We are the majority and with the expectation of record turn outs at the polls today, you better believe that our vote matters and our voices will be heard.
The 2016 election “was probably like a ‘wow’ moment for women,” said by Christian Nunes, the president of National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the US. While voter turnout was down in 2016, women turned out at record rates in the 2018 midterm elections.
So, why does your voice and your vote matter in 2020?
1. Violence against women and girls is a global issue that demands international attention, especially as COVID-19 threatens to make gender-based violence even worse. This violence persists in communities around the globe, and as the world’s refugee population continues to rise, women and girls are even more likely to experience physical and sexual abuse on the road to safety. Our leaders have the tools to end this violence by supporting and passing legislation like the Safe From the Start Act, which would solidify the U.S. as a leader in preventing and addressing violence against women in emergencies. This is increasingly important as global lockdowns and movement restrictions due to COVID-19 leave more women unable to get the help and support they need Candidates need to know that voters across the country support this kind of legislation and are looking for leaders who will take a stand for women and girls everywhere.
2. Globally, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty – and most of them are women and girls. Poverty is caused by the unequal distribution of power, resources, and opportunities for women and girls, especially in places where women can’t work, go to school, access health care, or make their own decisions. The record number of U.S. female candidates elected into office in the 2018 midterms is proof that women’s voices are intensifying, and we need them to know that voters want to see them use their voice to speak up for policies that make #WomenEqual worldwide.
3. Every 104 seconds, a woman dies from a pregnancy-related complication. Many of these deaths are preventable, yet U.S. support to prevent maternal and child deaths has come to a halt.
Today, women in some of the most fragile humanitarian settings still lack basic access to maternal health services, and the COVID-19 pandemic further impairs the ability of the global health community to meet family planning needs. We need elected officials who will support healthy moms and healthy societies. Raising these critical issues now can help ensure that new members of Congress come to Washington ready to defend critical maternal health programs.
4. Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, with the number of people facing food crisis likely to double as a result of COVID-19. By the end of 2020, 265 million people are likely to face starvation, and the picture for women is even worse. Under normal circumstances, women already bear the brunt of hunger, comprising 60% of the world’s hungry. At the same time, if women had the same access to resources and information as men, they could help feed entire communities and end global hunger. Lawmakers have the power to advocate for gender equality and small changes to U.S. food aid that saves lives and ends global hunger, and we need to make sure they know that voters care about these issues.
Elections decide our civil rights, social justice, and human rights. Our elected officials and their appointees will decide how much we pay in taxes, what our taxes pay for, what kind of education our children will receive, what is considered a crime, what agricultural products are used and or limited, what minimum wage will be, who is eligible for Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC benefits, who is admitted into the country, where hospitals, factories, and wind farms are located, and where toxic waste is dumped.
They will decide whether the water supply is safe for our family, whether workers are protected from danger and hazards, whether new drugs should be approved, whether internet companies can collect and sell personal data, whether employers are free to discriminate against employees and on what grounds, whether those suffering from substance abuse will be treated or imprisoned, whether people fleeing gang violence will have a day in court or be caged or turned away at the border, whether people will have affordable housing and health care, whether women have access to reproductive health care, and whether people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community or different religions can exercise the same rights as other Americans.
So, please. Go Vote. Your voice matters. Your vote matters!
1. “Why your vote matters in 2020” accessed November 3, 2020, https://www.careaction.org/.
2. Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, “US vote 2020: Why women decide elections,” US Elections 2020, November 1, 2020, accessed November 3, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/1/us-vote-2020-why-women-decide-elections.
3. Dolan, Kathleen. “Gender Stereotypes, Candidate Evaluations, and Voting for Women Candidates: What Really Matters?” Political Research Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 1, 2014, pp. 96–107. JSTOR, Accessed 3 Nov. 2020, www.jstor.org/stable/23612038.
4.Wendy K. Mariner "Voting Matters" Voting Rights, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2020. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/voting-rights/voting-matters/