Who speaks for women?

Let’s talk about politics for a second.  The statistics are startling for women leadership in politics. Women represent half the residents of the United States, yet we don’t even come close to the same representation as men.

There are 6 woman governors, out of 50 (CAWP).  Women hold 90, or 16.8%, of the 535 seats in the 112th US Congress ; 17, or 17.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 73, or 16.8%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, three women serve as Delegates to the House from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC (Stats here).

There are volumes of books dedicated to why this is true so I won’t get into it.  What I do want to discuss is what we can do about it.  It’s an interesting time in politics because women’s issue are at the forefront of the presidential campaign: health insurance, access to women’s health, birth control, abortion, rape, and the  fundamental question who gets control over a woman’s body yet we lack seeing women discussing these issues.  Not only had I thought we had finished this debate, but I thought more women would step up.

I’ll always remember learning about Abigail Adam’s letter to John Quincy Adams telling him to not ‘remember the ladies’.  In her letter, she writes, “do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

How do we remember the ladies now?  One way we can do this is by increasing women leadership so we have someone to speak for us in a more broader scale.  This isn’t to say women speak with one voice; women can come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences that shape their opinions.  However, we can elect people and showcase women who represent the idea that a woman should chose.

Look at the Democrat and Republican National Convention.

Sixteen women spoke at the Republican National Convention the first day compared to twenty eight at the Democratic National Convention.  Less than five women spoke on the second day of the RNC compared to twenty one for the second day of the DNC (Miss Representation).  The DNC doubled the amount of speakers in two days.  Which party is more favorable to women?  Democrats.

This isn’t a political issue persay, but it is clear that one party has done more for women.  What are you looking for in a candidate?  Do women issues persuade you towards one party?

For a full list of women in state executive offices, see the statistics at Center For American Women and Politics

For more information about women at the DNC and RNC, visit the Miss Representation website. 

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