Ginnie Graham: Women are big part of electorate
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 27, 2012
10/27/12 at 5:18 AM
Political pundits have now declared my vote counts - really, really counts.
Not just me, but all womankind seems to be getting attention.
A few election cycles ago, soccer moms were deemed to determine our country's leader.
Since then, there have been hockey moms, waitress moms, Starbucks moms and minivan moms.
Now, it's all of us.
A huge relief considering the battle for women's right to vote was fought and won in 1920.
So, welcome to the party.
Women's issues: The dissection has been ongoing to figure out how women think when they vote.
Do we dislike it when candidates bicker on screen?
No problem. We deal with child squabbles and extended family dramas all the time.
Do sexually charged words like "turn off" or "woo" accurately describe our voting habits?
No more than they do for men.
Will we vote based on the economy, foreign policy or social issues?
All of those things.
Our heads can hold a lot of information, and we enjoy good jobs, world peace and having our rights protected.
Some numbers: All this weirdly placed emphasis on the female vote hasn't changed a few facts.
Women earn 77 percent of what their male counterparts earn in the workplace.
Women represent about 16 percent of congressional seats and 23 percent in state legislatures.
Though, we are 51 percent of the total U.S. population.
More than 5 million more women than men in the country live in poverty.
Women head about 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies, a historical record, and own about 29 percent of businesses.
About 14 percent of the military are women. At least 53 percent of us are mothers.
Women make up about 56 percent of the total Medicare population, which increases with age.
When contraception was debated in Congress, women were left out of the room - an issue I was sure my mother's generation took on.
All this should give politicos an idea of how diverse our interests lie.
In the 2008 election, women cast 54 percent of the total votes. Of the eligible female voters, 66 percent voted, compared to 62 percent of men.
So, we're not new to this whole political process, either.
Awkward: In this quest to get inside the female psyche, there remain awkward and sexist moments.
Cringe-worthy was seeing presidential candidates explain how women will benefit from their platforms, which got twisted into binders and rhetoric.
Two women running for the New York state Senate were asked in a televised debate if they read the erotic bondage novel "50 Shades of Grey."
The candidates laughed it off and said they hadn't, displaying more class than I would have.
Are male candidates asked about watching the '70s skin flick "Debbie Does Dallas" or looking at Playboy?
Forget looking through income tax forms, let's peruse their Amazon and Netflix accounts.
It's not unusual to feature light-hearted questions giving candidates a chance to show personality.
But those questions should be the same ones posed to men, not take up time during a serious debate, and not involve kinky sex.
The question in New York was ill-placed and irrelevant.
It's also a reminder of how far culturally, politically and socially women have yet to go.
Original Print Headline: Women are a big part of electorate