Friday, September 26, 2014

What We've Been Reading - 9/26

Boston Globe: Memo to candidates courting women: Stop trying so hard! 
In the Boston Globe this week, Shirley Leung called on gubernatorial candidates to “stop trying so hard” to court the woman vote.

Leung insisted that candidates Baker and Coakley start focusing on the economy, education, and the environment to attract women voters. “We’re so much more than just pro-choice or antiabortion,” she writes.

Leung applauded Coakley’s focuses on early education, earned sick time, and buffer zones, adding that just because she’s the only female in the race, “Coakley is not taking women for granted.”

Baker has made a few blunders in his attempt for the female vote. This past summer, he said the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision “doesn’t matter” to Massachusetts women, a statement he later retracted. The other day, he called a television reporter “sweetheart” during an interview. At one of his Women for Charlie events last week, he avoided campaign issues and brought his 17-year-old daughter in to emcee the event.

Emma Watson Deals with Negative Consequences After "HeforShe" Launch at the UN
 The Huffington Post’s Emma Gray writes about both the wonderful and horrific events that followed Emma Watson’s powerful speech on Feminism earlier this week. Watson, best known from the Harry Potter film series, spoke about fighting for more women’s rights and a more equal society. She encouraged both women and men to stand together in this fight. This has spurred the solidarity movement ‘HeforShe.’ Many female and male celebrities took to Twitter to show their support of both Watson, and the movement. These include Tom Hiddleston and Forest Whitaker among numerous others.

The positivity did not last long, because the very next day an internet group, following the success and the effects of Watson’s speech, threatened to release intimate pictures of her. Though the threat made to Watson was hollow and was made to drive popularity of the group’s website, it still caused a lot of pain and upheaval. It is actions like this that ironically further validates Watson’s call for action. Gray argues the fact “that a woman’s body can still be used as a weapon against her is exactly how we know that the gender equality that Watson is using the UN platform to advocate for has yet to be achieved.”

Gray also enumerates other cases in which other women have been sexually harassed by strangers and are targeted because they are interested in improving the female experience. One case relates to Linda West who in June 2013 debated the part of rape jokes. In return she received multiple rape threats. Another case is that of Caroline Criado-Perez who campaigned for  a woman to be put on the UK’s £10 bill. She was also in turn bombarded with rape as well as death threats. Gray states that situations like these or really just other case of inequality ultimately come down to power. It’s about keeping current institutions intact and threatening those who dare to change them. This should however not discourage us but be additional fuel to work towards gender equality.
30 Most Dynamic Women Candidates Seeking Office in 2014
MSNBC introduced ’30 in 30,’ a new series of the 30 most dynamic women candidates running for office in 2014. Here is a short presentation of these powerful women:
Maura Healey (D) is running for office for the first time. She was previously a civil rights attorney and a prosecutor. Healey: “I’m a foot shorter than my opponent, but I’m the only professional basketball player in the race.”
Martha Coakley (D) is the first woman to serve as Attorney General in Massachusetts. Coakley: “We know that a strong grassroots campaign is not just the best way to win, it’s the only way to win.”
Both Maura Healey and Martha Coakley are MWPC PAC-endorsed candidates; the MWPC is very proud of them!
Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), if elected, would become Kentucky’s first woman Senator. Interesting facts are that former President Clinton has campaigned for her and that she is the youngest woman currently serving as secretary of state. Grimes: “I’ll gladly stack this ‘empty dress’ up against Mitch McConnell’s empty head any day.”
Emily Cain (D) is the youngest woman legislator in history to hold the House minority leader position in Maine. Cain: “I am the only person in this race with a proven track record of working across the aisle and overcoming gridlock.”
Monica Wehby (R), if elected, would become the first female Senator from Oregon in 47 years. She was also the first woman to enroll and graduate from the UCLA neurosurgeon program. Wehby: “The race I want to run is the one that would be ran regardless of what gender I am.”
Kay Hagan (D) comes out on top with the women vote, according to the PPP poll, 44% to 27%. Hagan: “…to the women reading right now, consider this your recruitment [to run for public office].”
Ann Callis (D) is the first female chief judge in Illinois’ third Judicial district. Callis:”I want to be a voice for the thousands of women in our community who work hard, play by the rules, and still are struggling to get ahead.”
Shelley Moore Capito (R), if elected, would become the first Republican senator form West Virginia in more than 50 years and the first female U.S. senator from the state. Capito: “This is going to be a tough race and West Virginians deserve a Senator who is going to fight.”
Jeanne Shaheen (D) is New Hampshire’s first female governor – and first female U.S. senator from the state – she is the first woman in U.S. history to be elected as both governor and senator. Shaheen: “My woman colleagues in the Senate inspire me every day.”
Rebecca Kleefisch (R) became the first the LG to face and survive a recall attempt. Kleefisch: “…my time in politics has proven my parents right over and over: girls are just as good as boys…and at some things…better.”
Wendy Davis (D) stood for nearly 12 hours on the Senate floor to filibuster an anti-abortion bill that shut down multiple abortion clinics across Texas. Davis: “I’m proud to be an elected official who has fought for issues that have a unique impact on women.”
Amanda Renteria (D) is the Senate’s first-ever Latina chief of staff. RenteriaL “In this country, in today’s society, there is no reason we are still fighting battles of equality.”
Connie Pillich (D), an Air Force veteran, wishes to protect the state’s pensions and safeguard Ohio’s tax dollars. Pillich: “In the Air Force, there was never a Democratic or Republican way to get things done – just the right way."
Aimee Belgrad (D) won her party’s nomination with 84% of the vote to challenge Republican Tom MacArthur. Belgrad: “Alice Paul stepped up, spoke out and took risks for what she believed in – that woman deserved the right to vote. She is a true inspiration.”
Nina Turner (D), if elected, would be the first African-American candidate elected to a statewide office. Turner: “All you need to be successful in live: your wishbone to dream big, your jawbone to speak the truth, and your backbone to persevere through it all.”
Lucy Flores (D) has said, if elected, she would help every Nevadan not just the privileged few. Flores: “I don’t have the typical background of most politicians…no matter your past, it is possible to change your future.”
Mary Burke (D) became the first woman nominated by a major party for governor of Wisconsin. Burke: “Wisconsin has everything it takes to have one of the strongest economies, but under Scott Walker, we’re not even close.”
Cheri Bustos (D) is the first women elected in the District. Bustos: “Advice to young women looking to pursue politics is to do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through. Exceed expectations.”
Kate Marshall (D) is the current Nevada treasurer and was endorsed by EMILY’s List. Marshall: “I’ve been the only women in almost every room I have worked in…you have to develop thick skin.”
Kyrsten Sinema (D) has supported same-sex marriage and women’s rights in Arizona. Sinema: “Don’t listen to the people who tell you can’t follow your dreams…ignore the haters and go to what you love.”
Gwen Graham (D) is daughter of former Florida Governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Graham: “If there’s one thing Congress needs more than anything else right now, it’s some common ground.”
Natalie Tennant (D) is the first Democratic woman secretary of state in West Virginia history. Tennant: “A lot has been said about two women running, but it isn’t about being the first woman, it’s about being the best woman.”
Mia Love (R), if elected, would become first black Republican in Congress and the first person of color to represent Utah. Love: “I’m perfectly comfortable with who I am and what I believe in, and I never allow anyone to put me in a box.”
Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) was the youngest female elected official in the state of New Mexico. Oliver: “It takes a lot of courage to break that glass ceiling…and there are a lot of naysayers to defy along the way.”
Gina Raimondo (D) is current general treasurer of Rhode Island. She has faced criticism and a lawsuit for making changes to the pension system, including increasing the retirement age. Raimondo: “My mom always said, if you want something done, ask a busy woman.”
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) is the first African-American house majority leader of the NJ general assembly and first African-American woman to win the democratic nomination. Coleman: “There has not been a woman elected to Congress in New Jersey since 1982.”
Alma Adams (D) points out that North Carolina hasn’t elected a new Democratic woman to the House in over 20 years. Adams: “I will bring to the role voices of the people I’ve fought for. Also, my famous hat collection.”
Staci Appel (D) is running for a U.S. House seat in Iowa, one of only two states that have not yet elected a woman to Congress. Appel: “This is a big opportunity to break up a political boys club and finally break Iowa’s glass ceiling.”
Young Kim (R) is marking the first time voters will be choosing between two women in the district: her and Sharon Quirk-Silva. Kim: “For the first time ever, voters will have the choice to choose between two women to represent them in the state assembly in this area.”
Mary Landrieu (D) is the first female U.S. Senator from Louisiana and first women to head the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Landrieu: “People may not agree with me, but they know where I stand and that I’ll fight…my opponents will have a hard time making this case.”
MSNBC’s ’30 in 30’ Women to Watch in 2014 can be found here: