Women's Caucus News

Help Stop Violence Against Women on College Campuses

The Women's March theme for this year is “Stop Violence Against Women.”
Our DA Global Women’s caucus will focus on achieving this goal by working through our legal system to secure equality under the law.

But you don’t have to wait for our January 19th world-wide marches to make your voice heard!

You can do something TODAY to help fight back against the gradual erosion of our rights that we have seen over the last two years.
Help us to Stop Betsy De Vos from imposing terrible new rules for sexual assault survivors on US college campuses.
 You can read more about her proposal here.

We are encouraging all our caucus members to be part of a National Women’s Law Center post card/letter-writing campaign to stop her, that ends January 28th. Please read more about it here.

As we prepare ourselves to march in the streets on January 19th, we can a first step NOW!
 But we have only until January 28th to file comments. Your hand-written note can make a difference!

BE THE CHANGE!

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Manon Garcia tells it like it is in Paris


MANON GARCIA SPEAKS ON WHY WOMEN VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP: CONSENT AND SUBMISSION IN AMERICAN POLITICS.

The DAF Women's Caucus invited MANON GARCIA, a young French philosopher, specialized in feminist philosophy, and Assistant Professor at The University of Chicago, and an activist as well. She writes about “consent and submission” and has a lot to say about our U.S. political scene: Trump, Kavanaugh, and machismo in general. She rocked the packed audience.

Follow this link to hear the audio recording of this fascinating event!

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Women Make History!

Each election brings women one step closer to equal political representation. 

Thank you to all female candidates who ran for office. We acknowledge all the effort it took to get your name on a ballot! 

We also congratulate the women within the Democratic Party who now represent us in government! 

Here is a list of our 122 winning female candidates, and counting! 


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A Feminist Blue Wave Crashes over Washington!

By Ann Hesse

Congratulations to our new women lawmakers! Hundreds of women are headed for Washington and state legislatures now. More women than ever before in history are taking power at every level of government throughout the United States of America!
This feminist blue wave will transform the political landscape forever!

Congratulation also to us! I wish to thank our thousands of Global Women’s Caucus members and hundreds of hard-working GWC leaders around the world for working to make this a reality! Thank you for your energy, ideas and dedication, and for helping to get out this crucial vote. This is your victory too! Savor it!

We have worked hard and deserve to celebrate now, but we are far from finished! Support for our new women legislators cannot stop with ballots cast and elections won. In the coming days and months, let us all consider ways in which we can continue to support them as their constituents, as their sisters and as a caucus. I welcome your ideas!

Washington D.C. is a battleground and our brave new army of smart, diverse, vibrant women lawmakers will need our back up every step of the way. We dare not abandon them on the front lines.

Today, we celebrate! Tomorrow we continue our journey. But this time, with our own leaders at the helm and the wind at our backs we have a real chance to make our dreams a reality. Our time has come!

- Ann Hesse, Co-chair Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus

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Women Candidates and Psychology: Breaking the Stereotypes

By Catherine Maines

The election on Tuesday is forecasted to likely see record numbers of women elected across the country, potentially surpassing the already record-high of 107 women in the current Congress. But with more women running – and winning – than ever before, even the most optimistic models show a Capitol only 23% female by this time next week. Historical and structural barriers help explain the basis of this imbalance, but there is still more to the story of why women have a harder time getting elected. Like most things, there is psychological work that can further help elucidate the continuation of this gendered inequality – with the caveat that much of the research (and somewhat consequently, this article), to its limitation, does tend to deal with gender in a mostly binary sense.

Essentially, stereotyping works by assuming a social group has a core set of shared beliefs and character traits and depersonalizing an individual to view them as a member of their social group interchangeable from other members. Gender roles are stereotypes, but they are also norms. They go from the descriptive (“women are…”) to the injunctive (“women should be…”). Though they are not necessarily subscribed to or acted upon, people generally have a shared understanding of what they are. Because we often think and make decisions heuristically (by using rules of thumb rather than fully weighing each evaluation), these stereotyped female roles are drawn upon and reinforced. The tendency to categorize individuals into social groups (e.g. on the basis of gender) becomes particularly interesting when viewed within a social system (e.g. in US politics) in which status and power are not equally distributed between groups. Being a member of a social group which is the consistent minority – particularly one from which there is (generally) no leaving – has repercussions for conceptualizing identity.

Shared cultural stereotypes are ubiquitous, but only at certain points do they get drawn upon and impact upon the ways in which people live their lives. Identity contingencies (something a person deals with because of a given social identity) affect members of minority groups by creating things they have to manage throughout the entirety of their lives – things that members of non-minority groups don’t have to consider. Female representatives working in a Congress which is 80% male often face a different set of rules which constrain behavior, requiring them to develop a set of strategies for dealing with scenarios – from unwarranted questions about their experience to unwanted sexual advances – that their male counterparts generally don’t have to face.

Women running for office also face gendered prejudices based on cognitive incongruences between the perceived capabilities of their social group and the requirements of certain roles – meaning political leadership positions require certain abilities, these abilities don’t align with the stereotype of women, so therefore women in political leadership roles are more likely to be negatively evaluated.

Eagly & Karau propose that a perceived mismatch between “female” and “leader” roles lead to two connected forms of prejudice: women are seen as less suitable for leadership than men, and “leadership behavior” is evaluated more negatively when it is performed by a woman. There can be a catch-22 for female politicians: leadership ability seems to be related to male traits, so female candidates aren’t evaluated as fitting the descriptive norm of a leader, and when they do achieve success they violate an injunctive norm by not embodying what we expect from women.

We saw this play out in 2016 – in the pitch of her voice and in her signature pantsuit, Hillary Clinton consciously conformed to the pre-existing (and therefore, masculine) image of what a president “should” look like. No one questioned her qualifications for the role, but pundits and voters alike saw her as personally inauthentic and questioned the suitability of her character.

This dichotomy can become cyclic in nature: women who want to lead might consciously downplay their feminine traits, and therefore reinforce the idea that “feminine” and “leader” identities are incongruent. And for those who attempt to hold both “female” and “leader” identities, there remains a stereotype threat: when there’s a negative stereotype associated with an individual’s identity, they will tend to underperform in a way that fulfils that negative stereotype.

And none of these are issues that male politicians have to face.

However, this disadvantage is dependent upon stereotypes of women, and perceptions of what leadership roles require – and both are things that we can change. If we want to change the parameters of what a “conventional politician” looks like, we can change the practice of reaching out exclusively to the “conventional voter” – and instead, expand the electorate.

With Congress’ membership being only 20% female – and only 8% women of color – there is still a visible gender disparity in Washington. But, things are looking up. Last November, my home state of Virginia saw a record number of diverse candidates elected across the ballot throughout the state. The number of female candidates has risen enormously since the 2016 election and might increase still in upcoming cycles in fueled by the Kavanaugh nomination. And several women (Stacey Abrams, Kyrsten Sinema, Gina Ortiz Jones, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…) have made their difference from conventional “male” leadership prototypes central to their campaigns – and achieved notable success.

“This election is the most important in our lifetime” has been over-stated by every quasi-political public figure and over-saturated social media timelines for good reason. It really looks like we’re on the precipice of change again, but it only comes if people get out of their homes (and off Twitter) and do the work to uphold the momentum and make it happen. Of the 238 women running for the House this cycle, 186 are Democrats. We’ve been the party to lead in consistently advancing the number of women in Washington, and on Tuesday we can continue the trend by electing Democrats across the ticket, throughout the country.

  • Catherine Maines

 


Equal Means Equal Webinar with Global Women's Caucus

Invest a few minutes to watch this extremely informative webinar on the ERA. Here is really everything you ever wanted to know about the Equal Rights Amendment, and why it is VITAL that we get this passed right away! Watch and be inspired!



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Revisited, Refocused, Revitalized and Re-empowered!

 Germany Women’s Caucus Berlin Workshop Recap

by Kelsey McLendon

On Saturday, the 22nd of September, Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus members from eight of the twelve Germany chapters met for a day-long workshop in Berlin. The workshop was divided into five sessions, each one focusing on a different approach to language and messaging. Together, the 33 participants unpacked words and phrases like “pro-choice,” “emotional,” and “misconduct,” before moving on to discuss the ways in which women are under attack and what we as Democrats need to focus on as we push forward.

One participant succinctly summarized the conversation in three main points: 1) the need to create safe spaces for women and allies to hold dialogues, 2) deciding on effective political strategy, and 3) answering the question, “What do we stand for?”.

As a group, participants recognized that Donald Trump and his administration are merely a symptom of systemic racism and misogyny. To combat the insidious cultural forces that Trump represents, Democrats must not only resist the destruction wrought by his administration, but also—and more importantly—push forward with progressive action. Participants agreed that in order to move forward successfully, we must elect more women representatives, support better voter education, and define our goals as Democrats in a clear, positive way.

Thanks to a presentation on “women to watch,” participants were energized with a long list of trailblazing women running for office this November, and it ended with speculation on female presidential candidates for the 2020 election including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Currently, women comprise only 20% of Congress, and while women turn out to vote in much higher rates than men, the Center for American Women in Politics reports than only 63% of eligible women voters cast ballots in the 2016 federal election. Hopefully, women and members of other marginalized groups claiming a more proportional chunk of elected offices will encourage eligible voters of all genders to head to the polls.

The final two sessions of the day asked participants to rethink commonly used phrases like “equal pay for equal work,” “the right to choose,” and “#MeToo” in order to rebrand our messaging. As one speaker pointed out, Republicans do a better job of marketing their messages to make emotional appeals while Democrats tend to over-rationalize. The last presentation of the day challenged participants to consider reframing our political dialogue. Democrats have fallen into the habit of allowing Republican leaders to define the discourse, creating our terminology in response to theirs rather than establishing our own, and then building a platform in opposition to Republican efforts rather than in the pursuit of Democratic ideals. In other words, we were reminded that we need to stand for something not just against something.

After a day of re-examining and celebrating the cross-sectional connections that unite us as women, Democrats, and Americans, we continued our atmosphere of kinship with a big, family-style meal at a local Indian restaurant. Refueled and refocused, our minds are looking forward.

The following books were recommended as essential reading for activists during the workshop:

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

The Little Blue Book by George Lakoff and Elizabeth Wehling

Your Brain’s Politics by George Lakoff and Elizabeth Wehling


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Vote Like Our Lives Depend On It - GWC Fall Newsletter

As we wrote these words, we were riveted to the Kavanaugh hearings. The brave and unforgettable testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has given us all courage and has strengthened our resolve to push even harder in these last weeks before the election. We salute her and thank her for speaking up for the millions of women who have been too afraid to come forward with their own stories of sexual assault.

We can best honor her courage and sense of civic responsibility by voting in this crucial election, and by encouraging our friends to vote too! If you have not requested your ballot, there is still time. You can request your ballot for the November elections at https://www.votefromabroad.org/. If you are registered to vote and you have not received your ballot yet, you will need to request your ballot to get it.

 

We’re almost there!

Read more

Stop Kavanaugh!

by Linda Gould

I have a daughter. She is 20 and just about to enter the world as an adult. What kind of world will she be engaging in?

America has a president who has bragged about sexual assault.

Republican men are pushing to vote to approve a man to the Supreme Court without investigating the allegations of sexual assault against him.

Republican women constituents are saying things like, “What boy hasn’t done this in high school?”

Why are they so adamantly supporting this man? So they can achieve their decades long push to finally rescind a woman’s right to control her own life.

If there is one mistake we women, democrats, liberals, feminists have made, it is that we mistook winning a battle for winning the war.

Sixty percent of Americans support a woman’s right to choose, so we thought the courts would never overturn it. If Kavanaugh is approved, Roe v Wade will be overturned.

We railed at the states that systematically made it difficult to impossible to retain access to health clinics for health care and abortions, but we never believed it would pass beyond a state’s rights issue. If Kavanaugh is approved, Roe v Wade will be overturned.

We didn’t understand that our fight needed to not only continue despite the gains we made in reproductive rights, it needed to expand.

By the time Phyllis Schlafley stopped passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, women had already begun to reap the benefits of the battles they had won, so work to pass the ERA virtually stopped. Brett Kavanaugh has sided with corporations over regular people on environmental, consumer protection and financial reform issues. If Kavanaugh is approved, many advances we have made—better pay, access to health care, family leave—are at risk of being overturned.

The republicans are hiding the advice Kavanaugh gave to the Bush administration on torture, spying on Americans, court nominees and lobbying. They are likely hiding the fact that the man supported the very policies that stained America’s reputation in the world.

We don’t know what will happen with this nomination. But it isn’t lost on women across the nation that it is a woman who has stepped up to challenge the man who is likely to be the deciding vote on Roe v Wade.

A record number of women are running for office. It isn’t lost on women across the nation that it is other women who are stepping up to challenge the policies that our male politicians have implemented.

Again, it is women who will step up with new ideas to remedy the issues that not only affect them, but all Americans. Because the policies women are striving for—equal pay, justice, better schools, access to reach our potential as individuals—will benefit everyone, even those who are willing to make excuses for men who behave badly.

There are many more battles to come. Unfortunately, we will be fighting some of the same battles we fought decades ago and though we had won.

The only thing you need to do is vote. Vote for democrats. Vote for Democratic women. And encourage your friends and family to vote, too.

You, me, a new batch of Democratic women in office have the power to make the world better for all of our daughters. ( L.G.)

And what can you do? Make a few calls! TODAY!

Demand the FBI investigate the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh and tell your Senators to vote NO on the SCOTUS nomination.

Click here for a simple call script you can use:

http://www.democratsabroad.org/tiny_actions


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TWO WOMEN COMPETING FOR 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON STATE

by Jude Siefker, Den Haag

This congressional race shows just how far women have come in recent years in seeking political office. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane has represented the 5th Congressional District of Washington State since 2005. In this strongly Republican slice of Eastern Washington (Trump won by 13 points), she has never had to worry about re-election. This assurance has allowed her to rise to the rank of the top woman Republican in the House and the fourth ranked Republican overall. But, this year, she is faced with tough competition from Democrat Lisa Brown. In an open primary, held August 7, 2018, McMorris Rodgers received 47.8% of the vote to Brown’s 46.8%.

Brown has never held national elected office but is an economist, a Washington State University professor and was the State Senate Majority  Leader. In the very rural 5th District, she is campaigning on a number of issues that appeal to farmers. One area of concern is the impact of the current administration policies on farmers. Tariffs are especially unpopular as is the administration’s withdrawal from multilateral trade agreements. Congress has also failed to pass a bipartisan farm bill. To compensate for the economic impact that all of these factors are having on farmers, the Department of Agriculture has proposed a short-term aid package. This is also unpopular with farmers because they prefer to have continued trade rather than a bailout. Due to both tariffs and weather conditions, farm income is projected to be the lowest in 12 years.

To date, Brown has run her campaign on promoting better legislation for Congress to help farmers. She believes that Congress should encourage bipartisanship to maintain healthy trade relationships that have taken many years to develop. Although Trump has been instrumental in imposing tariffs that are ruinous for both farmers and manufacturers in Washington State, in reality, the Constitution defines the enactment of tariffs to be a role of Congress, not the executive branch. Brown seeks to return this role to Congress.

Another important issue in Brown’s campaign is Congress’s many attempts to repeal Obamacare. This is especially significant in the rural area that she seeks to represent because many farmers, being self employed, cannot afford traditional medical insurance. In addition, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is projected to cause many small, rural hospitals to have to close. This could be disastrous for rural areas that already tend to be under served  by existing medical centers. Brown’s campaign focuses on fixing Obamacare and other factors that diminish medical care in rural areas.

McMorris Rodgers, of course, supports the policies that are diminishing Trump’s popularity with the major base in her district—farmers.
The record shows that she has backed his agenda 97.6 % of the time. Despite Trump’s growing unpopularity, McMorris Rodgers has the advantage in fund raising. She started with money left over from her 2016 campaign and has raised $3.7 million to Brown’s $2.2 million. Much of her war chest has been the result of Citizens United.

Despite McMorris Rodgers’ obvious financial advantage, Brown is  expected to stay in close competition if not to pull ahead as Election Day nears. Both are expected to focus on trade deals and tariffs because Washington is purported to be the most trade dependent state with 40% of jobs being dependent on trade. Because of her record of supporting Trump’s policies, voters may not trust McMorris Rodgers to take any effective action to bolster trade. This should give Lisa Brown a definite edge.

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