Thoughts on the Election
Ooof Election Day and the emotional rollercoaster than ensues, amirite? I don't know about you folks, but I have some pretty intense feelings about the impact this election could have on women's rights. Here in Illinois, I, like many others I associate with, felt pretty darn comfortable with our chances. Illinois is where Obama is from! Solid blue state for years! All of us who know how important so many of these social issues that are up for grabs are going to rally and would never EVER let anyone get in the way of our rights! Right?! Not entirely true. Although the Dems lost the Governorship, it looks like the referendum on women's access to birth control after the "Hobby Lobby" decision will be safe and sound, as Illinois voted in favor of maintaining that access. This doesn't necessarily ensure we will have access to it by law, but at least our voices have been heard (I hope). The other good news is that the state overwhelmingly voted to improve funding for mental health services. It seems like every time election day rolls around, I am still optimistic, particularly with regard to women's rights in our country. ESPECIALLY after all of the publicity that "feminism" is getting these days (of which the commercialization and comodification is fodder for another post), I had high hopes that women would rally behind each other and our allies to elect politicians that would support us and our right's to our bodies. Although not surprising, still super disappointing, especially with everything that is going on with abortion access/rights (or lack thereof) in Texas. But it's not all for nothing. At least places like New Hampshire, Arizona, and Hawaii are moving and shaking, electing women that have a chance to stand up for women's rights.
This being said, I know that talking about politics is a touchy subject and the discussion can get heated. I personally believe it's a bummer in general that we only get two sides to stand on (for the most part), and that the way the system works is inherently flawed. Whichever side you choose, bottom line is the United States is ranked at 54 out of 142 countries with regard to political empowerment and the gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum's report for this year, which seems to me to be shockingly low considering our technological, educational, and economic resources. I have a feeling the vast majority of you won't disagree when I say MORE WOMEN SHOULD BE IN POWER. This invisibility is a shame and a disservice to all genders. Let's hope that there can be some true bipartisanship with this round of newcomers and we can all work together and support each other.
- Written by Haran M. King, M.A.