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Gabby McDaris

Red, Blue & You: Women are important to elections

The past two years have been nothing but an uphill battle for the Republican Party in their search for the female vote. 

The past two years have been nothing but an uphill battle for the Republican Party in their search for the female vote. 

The gender gap — defined as “the margin between men and women’s support for a candidate” — grew by 10 points in the 2012 presidential election. “53 percent of the voters in the 2012 elections were women — more than one out of every two voters across the country was a woman. Moreover, 55 percent of those women cast votes for President Barack Obama,” according to

With a recent push toward feminism and women’s rights in America, anything and everything regarding women is being looked at with a bigger lens, leading to greater criticism of the Republican Party and their shaky track record when it comes to their handling of women’s issues.

This past week, Senate Republicans unanimously voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to, the act “revises the prohibition against employer retaliation for employee complaints. Prohibits retaliation for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee in response to a complaint or charge, or in furtherance of a sex discrimination investigation, proceeding, hearing or action, or an investigation conducted by the employer.” 

The overall goal of the Paycheck Fairness Act was to decrease the pay gap between men and women through creating more transparency regarding employee wages and by decreasing sexual discrimination. By collectively voting against it, the Republican Party made it seem as though they were voting against women.

The second issue hurting Republicans is their handling of sensitive women’s issues, particularly rape.

One of the biggest flubs regarding the topic occurred during Missouri’s 2012 Senate race, when Todd Akin made a statement regarding getting pregnant from rape, saying “it seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

His comments received harsh backlash from a majority of the country, and although Akin attempted to backpedal on his statements, the damage had already been done to his campaign and the party’s image.

Unfortunately, Akin’s comments were not the GOP’s only instance of insensitivity regarding rape. 

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Ron Paul made comments in 2012 that if an “honest rape” occurs, the woman should go to the emergency room and the doctor should “give them a shot of estrogen.”

California GOP Assembly President Celeste Greig said “the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized.”

It is unclear as to where Akin, Paul and Greig are getting their information that leads them to believe that a woman’s body is some sort of baby factory with an “in case of rape” emergency shut off switch, or that pregnancy can be stopped with a shot of estrogen. But this is what some Republican representatives believe, and because of this lack of knowledge and sensitivity, the party as a whole is suffering. 

Gaining the female vote is much more important than people may think. According to the National Women’s Political Caucus, “female voters have outnumbered male voters in every presidential election since 1964.”

It’s very difficult to win elections without winning the majority of the female vote and right now the Democratic Party is winning the battle. According to 2012 surveys from Pew Research Center, “nearly four-in-ten women (37 percent) describe themselves as Democrats, compared with 33 percent who are independents and 24 percent who are Republicans.”

In order to win in the upcoming elections this year and in two years, the Republican Party must shake off the stereotype they have created when it comes to women’s issues. The only way of doing this is to take a page from the Democrat playbook and actually start showing that they understand women and are willing to vote in favor of them.

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