Women’s Issues? The War on Women is a Political War

By: BettyJean Downing Kling

When will we learn?

How can you expect to get a majority of women to come together when most women’s groups insist on playing politics and heading the list of issues with the most divisive issue of all? There it is ‘reproductive rights’ aka ABORTION right at the top of the damned list of our concerns. You just don’t get it do you? WE already have reproductive rights and yet as divisive as it is — reproductive rights keeps heading the list of issues women, as a whole, care about!  Well it is not on my list therefore I cannot join you nor can I ask millions of others to join you. Too bad you can’t put together a list of issues that the majority of women care about. When we stop acting like damsels in distress perhaps we will stop being damsels in distress.

When, OH when, will you learn that deep down ALL women can’t deny they really want the same thing all men want!

We want equal rights! Do you understand what equal rights means? It means just as every man chooses whether or not to be involved every woman has that choice! We want the right to choose to sit at the table and determine what the discussion will be about. We want to discuss and have a say about what the other 48% of our Americans are concerned and deciding about the future of our country and our children. There are human rights issues and American Issues. Don’t you realize there are no women’s issues because women also care about the following?

Taxes, Jobs, Discrimination, Food Safety, Medical Costs, Gas Prices, Mortgages, War, Crime, Domestic Violence, Terrorism, Harassment, Cancer Cures, The Debt, Equality, Immigration, Military, Energy, Retirement, College, Internet Safety, etc.

If we have Equal rights and equal representation — we will have the ability to contribute to all of the above and I guarantee there will be no need to discuss our body parts and there will be enough of us to sit on our own panel to discuss it if needed! So let’s take the straw women’s issues off the table and let’s start talking about Equal rights about equal subjects! War on women indeed! Let’s take the war to the real issues instead!

The U.S. Labor Force

Women at the Top

  • Women’s representation in Fortune 500 leadership positions has stagnated in recent years.
  • Women’s representation in Financial Post 500 leadership positions has slowly increased in recent years.

Women in the Workforce In 2010:

  • Women made up 46.7% of the labor force.
  • 58.6% of all women 16 years and over were in the labor force, compared to 71.2% of all men.
  • Women comprised 51.5% of management, professional and related positions.5 For racially and ethnically diverse women specifically:
  • 56.5% of all mothers with children under the age of 1 were in the labor force
  • The labor force participation rate of parents with children under the age of 18 was 70.8% for mothers and 93.7% for fathers.

Women in Law

  • In the U.S., for the 2009-2010 academic year, women made up 47.2% of law school students.
  • In 2010, women were 31.5% of all lawyers.
  • In 2011, women were 45.4% of all associates, and 19.5% of all partners

Women and MBAs

Women in the U.S. earned 36.8% of MBAs in 2010-2011.


Fast Facts about Women in Politics

For the first time since 1987, the United States made no progress in electing more women to Congress.

  • Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, bringing an end to Represenative Nancy Pelosi’s historic leadership role as the first woman Speaker of the House. (Source)
  • 3 women committee chairs—Rep. Louise Slaughter on the Rules Committee, Rep. Nydia Velazquez on the Small Business Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren on the Standards of Official Conduct Committee—will also lose their leadership positions as the Democrats become the minority party in the House. (Source)
  • The number of women serving in the Senate will remain level at 17. The number of women serving in the House of Representatives will drop for the first time since 1979. (Source)
  • 10 incumbent Democratic Congresswomen lost their seats. No Republican women in the House lost their seats. One incumbent woman Senator lost her seat. (Source)

A few pieces of good news in an otherwise dreary election cycle for women:

  • Hawaii elected women to both of its U.S. House seats, making it the first state with more than one congressional district to have all-female representation in the House of Representatives. (Source)
  • Five women of color were elected to the House of Representatives, including WCF-Endorsed Terri Sewell, who will become Alabama’s first African-American Congresswoman. (Source)

Women are still under-represented at all levels of government.

  • Women hold only 17% of the seats in Congress. (Source)
  • Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women. (Source)
  • State Legislatures are only 24% women. (Source)
  • Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor. (Source)
  • The United States trails behind much of the world—ranking 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. (*Note: The U.S. is listed as 73rd, but after accounting for tied rankings of other countries, the ranking for the U.S. is 90th. Source)
  • On average, male cabinet appointees outnumber women cabinet appointees in our states by a ratio of 2 to 1.  (Source)
  • 50% less women than men consider of running for office. Of those, 30% less actually run, with only a fraction seeking higher office. (Lawless, Jennifer and Richard L Fox. It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.)
  • Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators. (Source)
  • Women of color represent only 4% of Congress and 23% of women Members of Congress. (Source)

Facts on women of color in elective office

  • Of the 89 women serving in the 112th US Congress, 24 or 27% are women of color. (Source)
  • From those, 13 are African American, 7 are Latina, 4 are Asian American and none in Native American. (Source)
  • Of the 68 women serving in statewide elective executive offices 10, or 14.7% are women of color. (Source) 
  • Women of color constitute 4.7% of the 7,382 state legislators. (Source) 

Why We’re Here

Parties can make or break a woman candidate:

  • About one-third of women say that someone tried to discourage them from running—most often an officeholder or political party official. (Source)
  • Women are more likely than men to say that party support was very important to their decision to run. Women are also more likely to cite their party, rather than an organization, as the most influential source of encouragement for their candidacies. (Source)

Gender Stereotypes still play a role:

  • Both male and female voters are much more judgmental about the appearance and style of a female candidate than of a male candidate. Although all candidates are judged on these attributes to some degree, women have a more difficult challenge in convincing voters to judge them on their merits rather than on their appearance. (Source)
  • If a woman candidate is unmarried, both male and female voters perceive her as less likely to share their own family values. (Source)

Money Counts:

  • The top three women who enjoyed incumbency advantage in 2008 raised approximately $33 million—$16 million less than the total for the top three male incumbents. (Source)
  • In highly competitive races, the gap between the top-raising female and male U.S. Senate challengers in 2008 was almost $14 million (Senator Kay Hagan raised $8.5 million and Al Franken $22.5 million), which is $8 million more than the difference in 2006. (Source)
  • Male U.S. House incumbents raised on average $196,281 more than women in 2008. Only five of the 1303 candidates relied on women for more than half their contributions. (Source)
  • Most women believe that it is harder for female candidates to raise money than male candidates, while the overwhelming majority of men believe it is equally hard for both men and women. (Source)

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