Yesterday marked the 98th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, which is the celebration of women winning the right to vote. 2018 is projected to be a significant year for women running for office, so it is particularly important to understand the importance of voting as a key civil right.
Women have long outnumbered men in numbers registering to vote: nearly a million more women than men reported voting in 2016 (73.7 million vs. 63.8 million respectively). Yet women make up just 1 of 4 elected state legislators, and 1 of 5 in the United States Congress, even though women comprise 51% of the nation’s population. Without women’s voices, many issues still go unnoticed and/or unchallenged.
“The power of men to decide what the world is going to look like, what counts and what doesn’t, hasn’t really been terribly disrupted in a generation,” said feminist legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw.
Women have made undeniable advances from American boardrooms and courts of law, to universities and sports arenas, but disparities remain, especially in poor or rural areas and in communities of color.
Many of the issues still needing more focus on women include healthcare, violence, family medical leave, and affordable childcare. Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, USA Today outlined the needs in What do men get that women don’t? Here are a few things.
For the 2018 midterm elections, 54 women filed to run for the U.S. Senate, 476 filed to run for the U.S. House and 62 filed to run for governor in their state, according to CAWP (Center for American Women and Politics). Of the number of women who filed for those offices, 72 percent identified as Democrats.
In the Iowa primaries, 11 women were on the ballot; Kim Reynolds, Rita Hart, Diedre DeJear, Mary Mosiman, Abby Finkenauer, and Cindy Axne won the right to be on the November ballot. For our state legislature, 78 women will be competing for your vote.
Just as important as it was for the suffragettes in the early 1900s is for all women to show up and vote. There’s no better day to remind each other of this fact that Women’s Equality Day. Let’s help share the message.