While this year’s Women’s Equality Day marks the 91st year of women having the right to vote, this past decade we’ve seen several women become strong political voices. In 2008, Hillary Clinton became the first woman in U.S. history to win a presidential primary and the First Lady ever elected to national office. Meanwhile Sarah Palin made history in 2008 as the first female Vice Presidential Nominee of the Republican Party. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Whether you agree with their views or not, the presence of women like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann on the national political scene sends a message to American women that there is a place for them in politics,” says Joanne Bamberger, founder of PunditMom.com and author of Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.
“While many women won’t make the leap into electoral politics,” Joanne says, “social media outlets and online platforms have provided new venues for women to flex their political muscles and promote issues important to them, giving them a voice beyond their votes.”
And women are flexing indeed. According to The Wall Street Journal blog, Washington Wire, about 66 percent of women voted compared with 62 percent of men in the 2008 election — 70.4 million women compared with 60.7 million men.
“The rise of powerful women in politics — Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Valerie Jarrett and others — is the manifestation of women’s political strength in the wake of the 19th Amendment,” says political blogger Cheryl Contee, co-founder of Fission Strategy & JackandJillPolitics.com. “Within 100 years of the right of women to vote in America, they’ve shown their desire to participate fully in self-governance.”
The number of female faces in the political realm will only grow as women in politics draw inspiration from women everywhere and vice versa.
“Everyday women in America have buoyed more visible women in the political arena and all Americans have seen the benefit of female leadership at all levels,” said Contee.
Even though much has been accomplished on the equality front, there is still a long way to go. It’s exciting to celebrate where women are now and exciting to think how they will progress over the coming years.
“I predict that we’ll look back on Women’s Equality Day this year as a turning point in the surging and active ability of women to shape the world in which we live positively,” Contee said.
The achievements of today’s women exercising their political powers should make Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bella Abzug and other women who fought for our right to vote quite proud.
Reporting by Kelly Burke
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