Anea Bogue: Recent New York Times and CNN polls are suggesting that fewer women than usual will turn out to vote in the Nov. 2 midterm elections, in large part due to their frustration. To be frank, I am more than disappointed. I'm also alarmed.
Let's get out and prove the pollsters wrong!
In light of the fact that I have dedicated my career to helping guide girls and women to find and use their voices, the mere thought that any of us would not exercise our hard-earned right to vote makes me crazy. Simply stated: Men's voices are not women's voices, and thus [men] cannot speak for everyone.
In spite of the fact that religion, psychology and politics (and seemingly, the rest of life) have operated for the last few thousand years on the assumption that the perspective and experience of men enables them to effectively speak for all human beings, that is simply not the case. Men and women [each] offer a valuable, but different, perspective, wisdom and experience. Still, women's voices are often considered inferior and even insignificant.
Ninety years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in this country, we find ourselves having made great strides toward equality between men and women, but there still exists a gap that must be closed.
Women make up approximately 51 percent of the population, yet only 73 of the 435 seats in the House, 17 of the 100 Senate seats and six gubernatorial offices are held by women. These numbers simultaneously represent progress and the great distance that must still be travelled, one vote at a time.
So ladies, why do we need to get out and vote?
1. Because we can. For more than a century, our great grandmothers and their sisters fought to claim this fundamental right as citizens. They did so because they recognized that, as Susan B. Anthony put it, "There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers."
2. Because we know that it matters not only to our future, but [to the future] of our children. Whether it's the economy, education, healthcare reform, the environment or women's reproductive rights and freedoms, we must become fiercely active in ensuring that our children live in a country that enables them to reach their highest potential. If we don't, who will?
3. Because more women than ever are running for office. Multitasking opportunity, ladies? Exercise your right to vote and put more women in office. We can make a difference.
4. Because we need to ensure that candidates who don't best represent us do not get elected. If a candidate, male or female, is not prepared to fight for equality for women in all aspects of life, your vote for someone who does [will protect] the progress we have made thus far.
5. Because key women's issues are at stake. Opposition to women's reproductive rights and freedoms? Repealing no-fault divorce? These are fundamental issues to women's health, safety and freedom. Republican candidates such as Carly Fiorina, who said she would support a reversal of Roe v. Wade, and Michael Baumgartner, who supports the repeal of no-fault divorce, put women at risk. Your vote counts in protecting yourself and all women.
6. Because our daughters are watching. When I ask teen girls to name the most powerful woman they can think of, their most common answer is "I don't know." Let's put more women in positions of power so our daughters view this as part of their reality and something they themselves can aspire to achieve.
7. Because no one understands the needs of our children like we do. It is certainly worth taking a few minutes searching the Internet to familiarize yourself with the tremendous platforms of many of the women currently running for office. Most of them include a commitment to improved education, school nutrition programs, healthcare reform and hunger-free children. Your vote is crucial to making these issues the priorities they deserve to be.
8. Because we have firsthand experience with discrimination, and therefore must accept our obligation to champion the rights of others. Voting for candidates who are committed to abolishing discriminatory laws and creating or supporting legislation that provides equality for all is our unquestioned responsibility.
9. Because sitting on the sidelines will not teach our daughters the importance of their role as women. Let's embrace our power, wisdom and unique perspective, so our daughters are guided to do the same. As their primary role model, isn't it essential that we exercise our hard-earned right to vote, so our daughters will one day embrace their responsibility in the democratic process?
To learn more about Anea, please visit AneaBogue.com.