Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
When I was in graduate school in London, one of my professors told a cute story about his daughter, born during the Thatcher era, who as a small child had asked him whether a man could be Prime Minister. The point that my professor was trying to make was that having more women in positions of power does make a difference in how women’s roles are perceived by society at large.
One need only look to the Declaration of Sentiments adopted by the women in attendance at the Seneca Falls Convention in August 1848 to begin to appreciate how far women in the United States still are from reaching equality in a host of arenas, many of which are dependent on political or legal equality. Although women were granted the franchise in 1920 after decades of struggle, it is only in the past few decades that women have become a political force – at least at the ballot box. Women not only vote more than men, but unmarried women and women of color are much more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. In fact, women were key voters in the successful elections of Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Linda Basch: From your perspective, what is the unfinished work of women’s political equality?
Tonni Brodber: In the English-speaking Caribbean women’s participation in political leadership ranges from a high of 13% in Jamaica to a low of 0% in Belize, with many countries like St. Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia hovering at 6.7% and at 5.6% respectively. In the face of such paltry numbers, it almost pains me to say that it is my belief that the unfuinished work of women’s political equality is the lack of quality and diversity.
Mass media is the heart of many current debates; however, the nature of the media remains double-edged. On a positive side, blogging and other forms of on-line communication have become key aspects of today’s feminist outreach. On line gender related activism and strive for change challenge and supplement the mainstream media. For example, check out this post from Racialicious (fyi, the editor of this fantastic blog is one of our panelists):
This past year has been a whirlwind for women and politics! The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin demonstrated that sexism in the media is far from dead. A number of powerful women are playing vital roles in the new administration. And Obama’s first 100 days proved to be very woman-friendly. Of course, our work is far from done.