There has been no shortage of discussion about gender this election cycle, whether it was the candidates themselves or the issues they were discussing. Here's Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families on why this election is so critical for women:
Most of us who are over 50 have voted quite a few times, perhaps for hundreds of candidates if you add up the choices we've made on the many Tuesdays when we've trudged to the polls. That gives us the perspective to recognize that this is an election like few others.
As the long campaign draws to a close, and we rejoice that the political ads are finally going to disappear from our TV screens, it's worth taking a moment to consider what's at stake. For women, the outcome of this election will help answer key questions:
- How will the next President and Congress address our economic woes, and will they make it a priority to protect middle- and low-income workers and preserve our retirement income?
- What kind of health care reform will we adopt? Will it be meaningful reform that gives everyone access to quality, affordable health care with the drug benefits we need? Or will we continue to tinker around the edges, while the ranks of the uninsured grow, and medical errors and other quality problems get worse?
- Will we pass stronger laws to protect seniors, women, people of color, and others who face discrimination in the workplace - and will we enforce the anti-discrimination laws we have?
- Will we establish a minimum standard of paid sick days, so low-wage workers can take a few days off to recover from flu, care for a sick child, or get a mammogram without losing their pay or their jobs?
- Will we adopt paid family and medical leave, so we can all afford to take time off when illness strikes?
The answers lie not just in the results of today's election, but in how engaged and active we are afterward.
Today it feels like the future really is in our hands. But we make the most of it only if we vote today, and then speak out and stay involved tomorrow.
Debra L. Ness, President
National Partnership for Women & Families