Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The importance of the upcoming November 6th Presidential elections cannot be adequately stressed for women voters as we head to the polls.  Due to some unfortunate, or possibly fortunate, gaffes by both candidates, women’s issues have been placed front and center in the spotlight of their messaging.  Women are being wooed, our votes being courted, but how do we know if their promises are sincere?

While women certainly are not one-issue voters, it seems that even candidates recognize that there are some issues that uniquely resonate. When we make our decisions it may just be these slight differences and assurances that make us feel secure in their hands.  Recent ads from both the Obama and Romney camp have addressed the issue of choice.  Although rarely polling as the most important issue to women voters, it is certainly something that can swing the vote of an undecided woman.

Most jarring to the audience of the recent Presidential debates was how women were included, and not included, in the discussions of our policy.  Although we may be able to point to differences in the policies and positions of the two parties, the similarity we saw in the first debate regarding National policy was that women were not considered an important agenda item.  As 51% of the population and still experiencing discrimination in political, business and personal arenas it was a glaring error and representative of how we must focus on all parties and candidates to include women as talking points.

The Town Hall and final Presidential debate on Foreign Policy were great improvements in regards to the attention women’s issues received.  Likely in response to the overwhelming pressure women’s groups placed on the candidates to include women in the discussions, we saw the issues of paycheck fairness and gender equality brought up in both debates.  Despite being relegated to pages in a binder by one candidate, the attention brought much needed discussion to where women are in the economy and how important it is to improve this status.

The recent Presidential debates are fresh in our minds; however, we need to take an extensive look into what the candidates have been saying for the entirety of their campaign and how it fits into each party agenda.  We are still learning about GOP Candidate Governor Mitt Romney’s exact stance in regards to women’s issues.  President Barack Obama has been fairly consistent in his statements in regards to women’s issues and does not need to go on the attack.  Both candidates do have some areas that could be improved and neither is perfect but we need to take an informed look before we can decide who receives our votes.

The National Women’s Political Caucus feels that this election is pivotal in maintaining and enhancing women’s rights in the United States.  We will be spending the upcoming two weeks trying to help delineate what the candidates are saying and how we can be the presence from the outside that encourages both parties to strive for women’s equality.  Knowledge is power and we plan to make as informed a judgment as possible and want to help others do so as well.

-Bettina Hager, NWPC Programs Director

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