As the political climate heats up and party conventions are in full swing, both the media and the parties themselves are still pushing, or defending, a “war on women” from both parties. The term first widely circulated earlier this spring during debates over changes to healthcare. The term is now used by both sides to refer to any issue, valid or otherwise, that could woo potential female voters.
Last week’s Republican convention in Tampa started under the shadow of comments made by Missouri congressman Todd Akin, who said “legitimate” rapes rarely resulted in pregnancies. Leading up to the convention the republican party’s leaders, including Gov. Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, and GOP chairman Reince Priebus insisted Akin remove himself from his senate race; he still refuses to drop out.
As the convention played out, the speaker line up clearly showed the republican party chasing after female (and minority) voters. According to the Huffington Post, female republican governors had a 75 percent chance of speaking, a disproportionate representation of their actual presence in office (women hold four of the 29 republican offices). Women at the convention downplayed social issues such as abortion and gay marriage in an attempt to bring all focus in the race to economic issues.
As the Democrats begin to fill Charlotte for their own party’s convention, women’s healthcare and abortion rights will likely be highlighted as reasons for women to vote with the democratic party. The Washington Post noted “You couldn’t move without bumping into a feminist leader” as convention preparations were underway.
Want more political coverage from the Gender Report? Look for our “Candidates at a Glance” profiles this Tuesday and Wednesday, where we will examine voting records, public comments, and media perceptions of both tickets.