Clio Talks Back
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Clio Asks Why, if Women “Sealed the Deal” for Obama, the American media isn’t talking about it?
11/11/2008 | | Add your Comment
Clio’s colleague and guest-blogger, historian Ruth Rosen, observes that the importance of women in electing the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, is being ignored by the media. Now isn’t that peculiar? Ruth says we should “set the record right.” Clio wholeheartedly agrees. Here is Ruth’s analysis:
“For the last two years, I've been writing and telling anyone who would listen that American women could elect the next president, if only they voted.
“Well, this time they did, and there is no doubt that women were a decisive factor in the election of Barack Obama.
“To listen to the pundits, however, you'd think that only youth (bless them!) and minorities turned out in overwhelming numbers to stand on endless lines to elect the first African American and liberal and brilliant president.
“Frank Rich, whom I admire tremendously, even missed the boat. In his Sunday New York Times column in The Week in Review, Rich never mentioned the amazing gender gap that catapulted a young and relatively unknown senator to become our 44th president.
“Just take a serious look at the numbers. As the data in the Week in Review in the New York Times reveals, women constituted 53% of the electorate, while only 47% of men voted. Among those who voted for Obama, 56% were women and 43% were men. Among unmarried women, a whopping 70% voted for Obama.
“There are many variables in this data that need to be explained. The extraordinary female vote almost certainly came largely from minority and young women. But even white, married women, who usually vote more conservatively, went for Obama.
“Does this matter? Yes, and here's why. For years, women have been saying that we are invisible in this political culture. The consequence of this invisibility is that our poverty, our economic insecurity, our need for health care, child care, elder care, and equality in wages and training are also ignored.
“So, with all due respect to those who are praising the young and minorities, and rightfully blessing their energy and enthusiasm, take a good hard look and notice that it was women who, in the end, sealed the deal.”
Clio invites your comments, in response to Ruth Rosen’s observations. Why is the “women’s vote,” once a subject of considerable media attention, now being overlooked?
Source: Ruth Rosen, “Women Sealed the Deal.” This editorial appeared on Talking Points Café on November 9, 2008 and is republished here by permission of the author.
Ruth Rosen is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California, Davis, and
Visiting Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley. Her columns, commenting on current politics from a feminist perspective, have appeared in many newspapers and are now available on the internet.