Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have focused on appealing to women in their campaigns, which could determine the election. On Nov. 6, the women’s vote will show which candidate best represents their views, and could shape the future of women’s rights.
Romney, the Republican candidate, hasn’t focused on women’s rights himself. However, his party has received criticism after the comments made by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock’s regarding rape.
President Obama and the Democratic Party have used the comments to try to show women voters that Romney isn’t fighting for their rights, and that if Romney were elected, women may lose their reproductive rights.
Evelyn Glazier, Vice President of Richmond’s League of Women Voters chapter, spoke of the importance of voting, not only for women, but also for all eligible voters.
Glazier stressed the importance of voting in elections, and said she thought women could play an important role in “whatever the outcomes are at all levels.” She said voters should “vote every year,” not just in presidential elections. “We want everybody to vote. We certainly want women to vote,” Glazier said.
Victoria Bragunier, President of Richmond’s National Organization for Women, works for women’s rights and equality with her organization. She thinks women voters in Virginia will pay attention to women’s rights. “We’re very conscience of just how much is on the line,” Bragunier said.
For the presidential election, Bragunier said that many women would base their vote on their worldview, which varies depending on where they live. “For many women, they’re going to vote based on clear cut women’s issues…I talk to other women, and…. they really talk more about the economy,” she said.
With both candidates focused on winning the vote of women in swing states, Bragunier said she’s spoken to some women that are “disgusted,” and not even voting. “That’s been really upsetting for me to hear…They’ve give up that anything’s really going to be accomplished…I’m hoping they change their minds.”
Bragunier hopes those women will decide to vote. “It’s something really precious and you need to have that right and actually use it,” Bragunier said.
Republicans have focused mostly on appealing to voters based on the economy, and promising a change from the last four years under Obama.
Erica Giovanni, a former member of Richmond GOP’s governing executive committee, thinks the women’s vote is critical for both presidential candidates. “It’s not just important, it’s essential…more and more women are voting, more and more women are becoming educated,” Giovanni said about winning the vote of women, especially Virginia, a swing state.
Giovanni admitted that the national discussion on women’s reproductive rights may have turned some women away from the Republican party, but thinks the country’s economic status should take priority over social issues. “This is an election about deficit reduction, it’s about creating jobs, it’s about…making sure more people are put back to work,” she said.
When it comes to women voters, Giovanni is concerned that they’re “distracted by issues that aren’t really of the utmost importance in this election.” If women base their vote on creating jobs and reducing the deficit, Giovanni thinks the Republican Party best matches their views.
“I think women who actually have their priorities straight and aren’t getting distracted by the Democratic agenda…are leaning toward Romney,” Giovanni said.
Women aren’t the only ones that have been paying attention to women’s rights, however. Harrison Sun, a VCU student in the “social media and presidential race” class, thinks men pay attention to women’s rights because of their significant others.
“They care about their significant other, so they will care what their wives or girlfriends think about,” Sun said.
Along with women’s rights, the economy, jobs and education are important topics to Sun. Although Sun did consider women’s rights when choosing what candidate to support, he thinks most voters will base their vote on the economy. “Many are fed up and just want something fresh and new. People are not paying attention as much to the social issues,” he said.
Voters will find out what issues are most important, and which candidate will secure the women’s vote on November 6.