As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’ve been thinking more and more about women, not only in the past, but in the present and future. With the 2016 elections quickly approaching, a lot of women’s issues will be present in political dialogues, including equal pay and reproductive rights. Here’s my prediction: unless the republican party changes, the candidates that will be the most vocal about women’s issues will be democrats/liberals/progressives. Whatever you want to call them, the politicians that have been the most outwardly supportive of women’s rights are those left-of-center on the political spectrum.
On International Women’s Day this year, many people spoke out about supporting women’s rights on twitter, including issue-based advocacy organizations, A-list celebrities, and many other public figures. However, one group of people was notably absent from the women-focused dialogue on social media on March 8th, 2015: Members of the GOP.
Catie Warren is a blogger for Total Sorority Move, and to be honest I don’t agree with a lot of her opinions, because many of her posts are written from a conservative viewpoint, and I’m a fairly staunch liberal. Although I don’t always agree with her, I follow her on twitter because I respect that she speaks her mind and I enjoy her online presence. Anyways, the reason that I’m using Catie as an example is because she identifies as a Republican, but she is also clearly supportive of women’s rights. She said it perfectly in her tweet: “Gender equality should not be political.”
But gender equality is political. I spent quite a bit of time browsing the twitter accounts for both parties today (@GOP and @TheDemocrats), and while @TheDemocrats tweeted about Women’s History Month numerous times (including retweets from @DNCWomen– An official democrat twitter account that shares news & encouraging more women to get involved in politics), @GOP only tweeted about Women’s History Month once, and it was about the wife of a president:
You may be thinking that the lack of women’s rights dialogue on republican social media outlets is due to a lack of social media literacy, but if you look at @GOP on twitter, you’ll see that they use social media constantly: most of their content is devoted to bashing Hillary Clinton. From a political marketing standpoint, the lack of dialogue from the GOP about women’s rights does not make sense: 2016 is coming up, and if they want to win, they HAVE to appeal to young people, specifically young women. And right now, they’re not doing what they should be to secure votes.
I have some guesses as to why the GOP does not support Women’s Rights. When it comes to reproductive rights, republicans are usually pro-life, which is probably due to the party’s attachment to religion. For reference, the closing line to the preamble of the RNC platform is “May god continue to shed his grace on the United States of America.” And, according to many republican politicians, God doesn’t want women to get abortions. As for equal pay, Republicans have stated that they are in favor of equal pay, but have not voted in favor of it. The reason? According to Think Progress, “they say women are already protected and argue that the gap isn’t as big as the statistics say.”
The GOP cannot say they are supportive of women’s rights until they put their words into action. Many people have articulated the need for a reorganization of the republican party, because it is broken and needs to be fixed: in fact, Catie Warren wrote a post about this on Total Sorority Move. The bottom line is that women make up just over 50% of the US population, but have been continuously denied their rights for decades. In the words of Hillary Clinton, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” and as such, they should be supported by every american politician, not just the liberal ones.