This morning, a coalition of 51 national women’s organizations under the banner of HERvotes held a press conference at the National Press Club to announce an unprecedented effort to mobilize women voters on Health and Economic Rights—HERvotes—in 2012. HERvotes groups, angered by the onslaught of attacks on access to contraception and 11 key gains of women in the 20th century, are determined to protect the gains women have made in the workplace, health care, education and basic individual rights and to continue moving forward an equality agenda.
Women’s rights leaders—including Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O’Neill, National Women’s Political Caucus President Linda Young, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Co-Founder and CEO, MomsRising.org, Avis Jones-DeWeever, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women, Lisa Maatz, Director, Government Relations, American Association of University Women, and other representatives from HERvotes members—served as spokeswomen for the event.
“This is a day in and day out fight. Women are not going to be silenced,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. “Women are not a political wedge issue, and will not be stripped of their rights or dignity.”
HERvotes outlined threats to the 12 top advances for women and what’s at stake in the 2012 election, as well as announced the details of national campaigns to mobilize women voters—online and on the ground. Speakers emphasized the power of women voters as a force for change, as well as our collective outrage over the politicization of vital aspects of women’s health care, such as birth control and breast cancer services.
National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Avis Jones-DeWeever highlighted economic perils for women and children. She emphasized that women will stand up for jobs, equal pay and equal opportunities: “Women will not be silent. We will not be bamboozled. We will not be complacent.”
“Women are tired of the politicization of birth control, the politicization of breast cancer, and abortion bills that really are just about humiliating women…The more they attack women’s ability to get along day by day…they are losing our votes,” said Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, urging women to go to www.HERvotes.us to find out about the issues at stake. “People are waking up.”
Feminist Majority Foundation 3/1/12