Winning women’s votes in the US presidential election will be one of the keys to victory.
Workers, students, the young, the elderly, parents or not, married or not, among the most important subjects women want to hear the candidates address are: rights, health, having children and equal pay.
Educator Jennifer Lawless, Director of the Women and Politics institute at American University in Washington, underscored the correlation between fairness, economics and America’s political preferences.
Lawless said: “The average woman is still making about 77 or 78 cents for every man’s dollar. So when we think about women’s economic status and we compare that to men’s economic status, it’s not that surprising that women are more likely to support the Democrats and men are more likely to support the Republicans.”
Women find more of their concerns are reflected in Obama’s record in office.
Government-subsidised health plans helping to prevent unplanned pregnancy brought a climax of conservative criticism, some saying contraceptive coverage meant “the government paying for women to have sex”.
There was an uproar when a Republican candidate for the Senate said women who are raped don’t become pregnant.
Lawless said: “We are talking about the definition of rape! We are talking about whether contraception should be accessible, even though 98 percent of women across the country say that they have used it at some time. I do think that to some extent this election cycle is about the status quo versus moving back if you support Mitt Romney, and the status quo versus moving forward if you support Barack Obama, at least in terms of women’s social and political equity and autonomy.”
While Romney blames women’s poverty on Obama, services for women could be negatively affected if the Republicans ended certain federal programmes.
Also, the future of abortion policy could be steered by the next president’s nomination of liberals or conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Yet, according to national political correspondent Karen Tumulty with the Washington Post, Obama has the edge.
She told Euronews: “I think that women are going to vote in favour of Barack Obama in this election, the question is how big. And if it is more than 53, 54, 55 percent of women, I think the election is over.”
Tumulty wrote: “Ginning up female support has become an imperative for Obama in his re-election bid, across the electoral map, to offset an expected loss to Romney among men.”