DNC Featuring Number of Women’s Issues

The opening of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles this week highlighted women officeholders and candidates and touched on issues of importance to women such as reproductive choice, health care and education. Speeches by high-profile female Democratic leaders such as Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stressed the importance of this election in determining the future of domestic and women’s issues. At a reception honoring Representative Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Clinton, the highest-profile female candidate of the Democratic Party declared it was “absolutely critical…that women know what’s at stake in this election.” Ellen Malcolm, President of EMILY’s List, a PAC that funds pro-choice Democratic women candidates, took an even broader look at the role that women could play in determining the future of progressive politics. “We could literally take back the house with women candidates,” she stated. “We probably won’t elect more women [than in 1992] but we will win such significant races it could actually affect who controls both houses.”

The increased level of attention to women candidates and women’s issues is indicative of women’s growing role in the political spectrum. Women are slowly rising through the ranks of state and local offices, and are now poised to compete with their male colleagues for significant seats in the House and Senate. In the House, half the Democratic candidates in the dozen most competitive contests are women. Women candidates are also raising funds on a par with their male counterparts. Among the 12 non-incumbent Democrats who raised at least $1 million this election, eight of them are women. House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said female candidates have amassed enough legislative experience and campaign dollars to be taken seriously. “This is a breakthrough year,” he stated. “All these things have converged and made this happen.”


Washington Post - 15 August

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