Women held record gains, influence in election

On November 6, most Americans focused their attention on the presidential election results. However, many state and congressional races also will influence the next four years. The Gender Report has previously looked at the influence of women in politics, notably the lack of women in elected office.This year, those numbers are starting to improve.

A Washington Post multimedia project highlights the female senators and their projected significance in governance. Click the image to go to this project.

The 2012 election brought a record-number of women to office; 1 in 5 senators are now female (a gain of 3 seats), and the first Asian American, as well as openly gay, women were elected to represent Hawaii and Wisconsin, respectively. A Washington Post multimedia project highlighted the female senators and their projected significance in governance. In addition, New Hampshire became the first state to elect an all-female delegation, including the only female democratic governor. In the House of Representatives, 77  seats will be held by women (a gain of four representatives).

Presidential Influence

Despite their gains for their own seats and victories, much of the media coverage of the election instead focused on the influence of female voters on the top of the ticket. According to research from the Huffington Post, for the first time in research dating to 1952, a presidential candidate whom men chose decisively – Republican Mitt Romney – lost. While Obama’s victory was attributed partly to high minority turnout and support, he won the female vote 54 to 45 nationally and also in every swing state(compared to his 56 to 43 showing in 2008). In one Washington Post article, female supporters of Gov. Mitt Romney said they couldn’t trust him to be true to his campaign promises, an issue women voters consider more signficant than their male counterparts. Gallup polling has tracked the gender gap since 1952, and said this year’s gender divide was 20 percentage points, the largest ever using its method of calculation.

The Huffington Post called 2013 the “New Year of the Woman.” For the time being, the most attention will be on Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the role she will play in the upcoming deficit deliberations in Congress.

Also of note was the loss of two male candidates who made incendiary comments about rape and women’s health in the weeks leading up to the election. Rep. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, both republicans, made headlines for their separate comments about “legitimate rape” and abortions being god-sent, and were both defeated. Some analysts attribute the nationalized attention to their comments to the already debated “war on women” of the republican party.


Women in journalism: Reading list 2/26/12

The Gender Report provides a weekly round-up of links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. The links below are to noteworthy articles on topics related to women in journalism and the media during the past week. Articles included in this feature do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gender Report or its writers. View past week’s round-ups here.

In Memory: Marie Colvin

Award-winning foreign correspondent Marie Colvin died in Syria this week alongside photojournalist Remi Ochlik. Colvin was remembered in numerous tributes across the web. Here are just a few:

The Risks of Bearing Witness: Discussing Marie Colvin’s Legacy (New York Magazine)

Opinion: Colvin fought injustice, armed only with words and images (Op-ed by Hannah Storm on CNN)

Marie Colvin: The death of a role model (by Helena Williams for the Press Gazette)

Profile: Marie Colvin, intrepid and fearless war correspondent (Reuters)

Journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik killed in Syria: Their last work and words (Washington Post)

Marie Colvin killed in Homs: tributes to Sunday Times journalist (Telegraph) – A round-up of statement about her death

Great Female Journalists (Independent) – A gallery of nine women starting with Colvin

General interest links

FishbowlDC’s Rothstein criticized for accusing female journalists of going for ‘the sexpot look’ (Poynter) – Includes a round-up of other articles related to the incident

More Discussion but Few Changes on Sexual Violence (by Lauren Wolfe as part of the Committee to Project Journalists’ Attacks on the Press in 2011)

Boys’ Clubhouse: Why Women Should Write About Sports (GOOD)

How many times has Elizabeth Warren been called darling? (Name It Change It)

On #dailywife and writing for the “women’s pages” (by Rachel Hills)

How To Be a Feminist in the Sports Culture Boys’ Club (If You Want To) (Women, Action & the Media)

Telling Stories in Contemporary Spain: A Survey of Women Writing Literary Journalism (World Literature Today)

Has confessional journalism gone too far? Yvonne Roberts and Lucy Cavendish discuss (The Guardian)

Coming clean on sex pests in the newsroom (The Australian)

How ‘Grammar Girl’ turned a single hobby podcast into a growing media network (Nieman Lab)

Margaret Low Smith to head NPR News (Poynter)

Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC gives new face to cable news (by Anna Holmes on the Washington Post)

‘Trailblazer’ Belva Davis to Retire From KQED After Presidential Election (TVSpy)

Interview: Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan, on how sex sells (The Guardian)

Safe at home: A feature on Lara Logan (New York Times Style Magazine)

We encourage readers to submit suggestions of articles to include in future editions of this feature by sending an email to genderreport@gmail.com. For links to articles like these throughout the week, follow @GenderReport on Twitter.