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.
A week ago, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, went on Meet the Press, the top-rated Sunday talk show, to press the case that Republican opposition to insurance coverage of contraception is part of a broader GOP "war on women."
Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, argued on the program that the issue was one of religious freedom, not one of denying access to health care.
Republicans had been criticized 10 days earlier for holding a hearing on contraceptive coverage that lacked any women testifying. Yet there were no elected Republican women appearing on the political shows that Sunday to support the party'sposition. In politics, that's called "bad optics."
To be sure, the networks, not the parties, select guests for Sunday shows, and women of any political persuasion are underrepresented: They generally make up about one-fifth of guests. On Sunday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., appeared as part of the NBC program's roundtable discussion.
Last week's disparity illustrates a challenge the GOP faces in the "war on women" controversy and, come fall, in combating President Obama's strength among female voters: The party is in something of a rebuilding season for its roster of prominent spokeswomen.