Top 3 Issues Women Voters Care About

With the presidential election on the horizon, everybody wants to know which issues are going to be important and which voting blocs are going to be major players. As they make up approximately 50% of the population, it’s safe to say that women are going to play a significant role in determining the outcome of the election. So what exactly is it that women voters care about? Here are the top issues.

1.    Reproductive Rights

Though abortion has always been a hot-button topic, it seems like even the less controversial aspects of reproductive rights have been coming under attack in this election cycle. In what’s been branded a “War on Women,” certain politicians (I’m looking at you, Republicans) have been launching a full-on assault on women’s reproductive rights. In recent months, we’ve seen women who discuss the necessity of easily accessible birth control pills labeled as sluts, funding for rape counseling programs slashed, and the notion that pregnancy should be defined as beginning two weeks before conception seriously considered. Regardless of where women voters fall on the political spectrum, the majority of them don’t want other people (particularly men) dictating their reproductive health. We’ll see how the election pans out, but it appears that attacking women’s reproductive rights was a bad strategic move on the part of the GOP.

2.    Health Care

You might not know it, but women are routinely denied health insurance at much higher rates than men.[1] Even when women can find coverage, the cost is often astronomical. This is true even when accounting for gender-specific variables like prenatal care, which means that women are being denied health insurance simply based on the fact that they are women. Because of this, it follows that women are more likely to have a tangible, vested interest in improving health care access. Luckily, the health care reforms spearheaded by President Obama in 2010 made gender discrimination in health insurance illegal; in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “being a woman will no longer be a preexisting medical condition.” However, the law doesn’t take full effect until 2014, and many Republican politicians are fighting to get it overturned in the meantime. Since health care is almost as essential as food and shelter in terms of survival, it seems like a bad idea to attack a woman’s right to it.

3.    The Environment

This might not strike you as an explicitly female-oriented issue, and it’s obviously true that people of any gender can care about the environment. According to a recent study from Michigan State University, however, women are more likely than men to believe in the reality of climate change, which means that they’re more likely to support environmental reforms that aim to address this potentially destructive phenomenon. What leads women to feel more invested in the environment? One possibility is that, since women have traditionally held the caretaker role when it comes to children, they’re more concerned about the future for the generation of tomorrow. Another is that women tend to be more empathetic; when they hear about poisoned water, or the true diamond value of our jewelry (i.e. Blood Diamonds), or just general exploitation of people, resources, or the environment, they’re more likely to have an intense response. If politicians want to win over women, they need to take the environment into account.




About Author: Madeline Marshall is a writer living in Santa Cruz, CA who cares about rights for women.

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