Saturday, July 9, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need gender parity in our governing bodies?
In our diverse population, each group needs to be represented at the decision-making table. We need gender parity in politics to guarantee that women’s perspective is represented on all issues. Additionally, there are some issues that have a profound impact on the quality of life for women and families that need to be brought to the political forefront.

Why endorse women only?
Certainly there are men who support our positions on reproductive choice, dependent care, equal access to educational and employment opportunities, domestic and sexual violence and other “women’s issues”, but it is generally women who introduce the legislation to further these causes.

Are women making a difference?
In the aftermath of the Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill hearings in 1991, there was a surge of newly elected women in public office. In 1994, Congress passed into law 30 bills on women’s issues with 33 more the following year. The previous record for any year had been five.

How close are we to equal representation?
In 1971 there were only 344 women state legislators. By 1981 there were over 900. 

In 1999 three of the nation’s 50 governors (6%) were women. Only nine of the 100 Senators (9%) and 56 of the 435 Representatives in the House (12.9%) were women. California’ percentages were slightly better than the national average with 29% of the congressional representation and both our Senators women.

Twenty-six states still had no women serving in the 106th Congress. Six states – Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Vermont – have never sent a woman to the US Congress.

Only 16 women have ever served as the governor of a state. Women accounted for only 13% of Federal Judges and 9% of state judges although, between 1980 and 1991, the percentage of women state judges did increase from 4% to 9%.

Why is the organization multi-partisan?
By working with pro-choice, pro-ERA women in all political parties, we can influence party platforms from within.

Why is reproductive choice so important to women?
Women cannot be truly full and equal partners in a society that denies them authority over these most personal and fundamental issues in her life. In recent years, anti-choice factions have mounted a well funded, well organized, strategic attack on women’s right to choose. By slick campaigns launched on selective sub-issues, they have begun to erode women’s rights to reproductive self-determination – rights that many of us worked so tirelessly and passionately to obtain a mere quarter of a century ago. The Supreme Court is only one vote away from overturning Roe v Wade. U.S. payments to the United Nations are tied up in the controversy over family planning funding in third world countries.

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