In recognition of the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, and the anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, a coalition of women’s organizations, representing millions of women, announced plans to counter the attacks on women’s economic and health security through a new multi-organization effort, HERvotes. The goal is to mobilize women voters in 2012 around preserving women’s Health and Economic Rights (HER rights.)
“Current attacks against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Title X are attacks against women, plain and simple,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “It’s unjust to prioritize Wall Street corporations over Main Street women and families as some leaders are doing now.”
Today HERvotes is releasing a list of the top 10 historic laws that impacted women’s lives and security, but are now in danger of being weakened, cut or eliminated by extremist policies at the federal, state and local levels. This top 10 list of health and economic security cornerstones includes the Social Security Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Title X (the National Family Planning Program), Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Affordable Care Act.
Melanie L. Campbell, president & CEO and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, said, “Women of color will be disproportionately impacted by the attacks on these top 10 historic laws that empower women to live our best lives for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation. For instance, cuts in Social Security would send more women of color into poverty. The National Senior Citizens Law Center recently released a report that the majority of single women of color rely on social security for 90 percent of their income.”
Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center added, “HERvotes will bring forward the powerful voices – and votes – of women across America to fight these attacks, and make sure any economic blueprint for this nation includes jobs and opportunities for the millions of women who stand ready to rebuild our economy.” HERvotes launches this national effort on Thursday, August 25 with a multi-organizational “blog carnival”, highlighting these important gains for women and with a year-long, multi-organizational voter registration and get-out-the-vote project. The top priorities of HERvotes are to educate and engage more women to use their voices and their votes to urge lawmakers who seek to represent them to:
- Stop the attacks on historic advances for women;
- Preserve successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;
- Respect women’s contribution to the economy; and
- Act on jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security.
Linda Hallman, executive director and CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) said, “From Women’s Equality Day 2011 to Election Day 2012, we will be reaching out to women and urging them to talk to the other women in their lives – their moms, their sisters, their daughters, their friends, their neighbors and their coworkers – so that we can increase voter turnout and bring forward women’s voices in the national discussion on jobs, health care, education and family economic security.”
This multi-organization effort is coming together to harness the growing power of women in the United States. Women now comprise half of the entire paid labor force, and are essential contributors to the economy, both as workers and consumers. Women are also an increasingly powerful political force. According to the Center for American Women in Politics, women had a higher turnout rate in 2008 than men, with 60.4 percent of women turned out to vote compared to 55.7 percent of men. This gender gap held true across all ages and races.
“We will be urging women and mothers across the nation to vote, and to vote for leaders who understand that women and families are essential to rebuilding our nation’s economic security. Our nation didn’t become strong by putting families last. For the good of our nation, it’s time to stop attacks on women’s economic and health security,” Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director & co-founder of MomsRising.
Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) added, “Attacks on women’s health care and economic security have raised the stakes for women in the 2012 election. We will work together to ensure that women from every community and faith tradition know that preserving the commitment to social justice depends on their voices and their votes.”