More from NC Women United: Finishing What they Started by Tara Ramano
93 years ago suffragists in this country finally achieved what they had set out to do: women had won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited barring women from voting because of their gender. This was hardly a guarantee of universal suffrage, as many other barriers – including ones based on race, class, and ethnicity – disenfranchised numerous women and men who had the right to vote in theory, but were unable to put that right into practice. But as with the 15th amendment, this was an important step towards universal suffrage...
Some of the early suffragists recognized that the right to vote was not the end of the pursuit of women’s equality, but just the first step.
While voting is crucial to bringing women’s voices to the policy debate, it is nowhere near enough needed to inform legislative policy with the details and nuances of women’s lives and experiences in a way that results in policies that support women.
Election campaigns ultimately tend to be heavy on concepts, light on details, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. But as campaigns debate larger issues about social values and theoretical economic policy, we are less likely to see the issues of affordable child care, domestic and sexual violence, pay discrimination, family-friendly workplace supports and poverty be discussed in any depth. So when those issues do come before lawmakers, women must bring their voices to those discussions, beyond voting.
Women who are punished in the workplace because of the violence they experience at home; or who’s responsibilities to care for family members keeps them from obtaining good jobs or being able to get to the polls; or who need to structure and plan their families in ways that work best for them have to bring their stories to lawmakers as this legislation is introduced.
Speaking of "informing legislative policy" see also Lillian's List:
Join the movement to build a progressive North Carolina by electing pro-choice Democratic women to North Carolina public office!
At present there are only 32 of 120 (26.6%) members of the NC House who are women. As the recent NCGA session made obvious, of these women, few support a progressive, pro-choice agenda.
With Ellie Kinnaird's resignation last week, there is not a single Democrat who is a white female Senator in the NC Senate.
There are now only 6 women Senators out of 50 total (12%): 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans. No matter how strong a given Senator is (Bryant, Parmon, and Robinson are good Senators), there is a "tipping point" in numbers for political influence, and we are so, so far from that in the NC House and Senate.