Demanding change: women on their own

As we approach the 2006 elections, it's important to call attention to the voting patterns of women, and for progressives, huge opportunities lie specifically in appealing to women on their own. Luckily, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner published a report this week for Women’s Voices. Women Vote detailing the ins and outs of how women vote, and why.

Here are some key highlights:

  • Women on their own face challenges in our society that have a big impact on their political worldview. For many, their economic marginality defines their existence.
  • Women on their own who do not vote fail to do so largely because they lack information about the candidates and parties and are cynical about politics.
  • Women on their own give low approval ratings for George Bush,' they are convinced the country is headed in the wrong direction, and they are disposed to support Democratic candidates in 2006.
  • Women on their own respond to messaging that evokes their sense of civic responsibility as Americans and reminds them they can bring change to the issues that matter most to them.

Women on their own (note this is a preferred term to "unmarried women," which biases readers to assume the acceptable linguistic norm is "married") are a prime demographic for progressives to explore in ways that they haven't since... well, probably since ever. It's a fairly consistent tactic for both the Democratic Party and die-hard progressives alike to tack on issues of importance to women when it's convenient for the agenda; this is probably related to the fear of losing that Joshua wrote about earlier this week.

Creating unifying platforms that speak to women is not just good strategy and a nice idea. It's becoming critical in an age where The Onion's satire this week of the Dem's lack of message -- Democrats Vow Not To Give Up on Hopelessness -- isn't that funny when you keep reading it; it's a sad and discouraging truth. Creating a new agenda that is inclusive of the concerns of women on their own is a golden opportunity to reconnect with progressive values of care and responsibility, as well as security, fairness and freedom. Who can argue with that?

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