What Does Obama’s Win Mean for Women?

November 05, 2008

On this day, Nov. 5, in 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women voted in the presidential election. All 16 women were later arrested, Susan B. being the sole individual actually brought to court. The judge not only refused to let her testify because she was a woman but also apparently ordered the jury to find her guilty and fined her $100. She refused to pay, and no further action was taken.

As we went to the polls yesterday and exercised our hard won right to vote, women helped make history by the sheer volume who went out and voted. On Nov. 6, our members are invited to participate in a discussion of how the election results will affect AAUW. But right now we want to know: What does this historic win mean for women?

Christy Jones, CAE By:   |   November 05, 2008


  1. Sylvia says:

    When the civil war was over Black men got the right to vote. It wasn’t easy to vote, but they got the right to vote. In 1920 women got the right to vote and not without fighting for that right. Yesterday we voted to make a Black man president. Will we wait that long to get a woman president?

    If we think we have arrived and we don’t need an AAUW, think again. We are not equal. AAUW is not a tea party for women who want to celebrate their degrees from colleges and universities. It has to be more than that…

  2. holly kearl says:

    I hope this historic win means that we can have a better chance of proceeding with AAUW’s public policy agenda, including stronger equal pay legislation and better educational programs and funding for schools. I hope it means that when there will be new US Supreme Court appointments, they will be people who will protect and promote women’s rights, including their reproductive rights.

    I greatly admire Michelle Obama and I am pleased that she will now be a national and international figure. I think about one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, and all that she accomplished for women as first lady and thereafter and I have great hope that Michelle can similarly be a great advocate for women in her white house role.

  3. Jackie says:

    The changing demographics of the US that AAUW has been talking about for years just elected the first African-American president in US history, and the youngest. According to the results of exit polls reported in USA Today, 96% of black women, 69% of hispanic women, 69% of unmarried women, and 60% of working women who voted cast their ballot for Senator Obama. The same polls show that only 46% of white women and 47% of married women voted for the new president-elect. I consider these figures a clear mandate for AAUW to continue to strive to expand our membership to reflect the realities of the country in which we live.

  4. Stephanie Pierce says:

    To quote from am email sent to a friend of mine.

    “Just before strolling out to make his speech last night, Barack sent me and several million of my closest friends an email thanking us for our support and reminding us that we are in this thing together. The goal was not to win an election, although that was necessary to do what we have to do. The goal is and always has been righting the ship. He’s going to get back to me from time to time to explain what is going on and ask for my opinions. Brilliant.”

    I think it’s a wonderful reminder to make sure we keep contacting “Barack” with issues of concern to us as women. That’s what having Barack Obama in the White House means to me.

  5. My thanks from the Obama campaign was received with absolute joy. Our Democrats here in AZ. spent long hours calling young voters who had not voted for five years.
    I am hopeful that the Equal Rights Amendment will again be introduced in this 111th Congress. With the new Democrats seated we have a good chance for success.
    Dorothy McKenna
    Green Valley, AZ. Branch

  6. Sue Ergle says:

    I only hope that Michelle and Barack are not so progressive that their ideas are based on Marxism…I am truly concerned for this country….As a retired teacher (48 yrs) I know the history, the cultures, etc. rather well….this new brand of progressive thinking only shows that too many illegals, etc. are controlling the government….this does not fit the Constitution that our forefathers designed…a Christian nation ….

  7. Kiki in DC says:

    A friend of mine at AAUW asked me to think about this question – what does the Obama win mean for women?

    Let me start by saying that I supported Barack Obama from the day he announced his candidacy. I am a feminist. I am the child of an Eastern-European immigrant, the daughter of a WWII veteran, a woman who came of age in the shallow frenzied 70s and the darkening selfish 80s.

    I supported Obama because I believe that we must live the ideal espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. – we are awake and aware enough in this 21st Century to finally and truly judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin (or their gender, faith, sexual preferences, wardrobes, accents, whatever). And I believe that Barack Obama’s character has been evident. He is a catalyst for actual change. He has the inner strength to speak harsh truths without laying blame, to turn the other cheek when fear turns ugly, to recognize need without displaying patronizing superiority and to ask for aid without operating from a position of cringing doubt. He is an American ideal – not a product of cultural privilege, but a smart, hard-working, socially-conscious, public servant.

    Yes. I can feel some of you shaking your heads at my naiveté. But I tell you this is the truth of my heart. He is the one. We, all of us who have despaired over our growing national callousness and continued prejudices, we can use this election to recommit to raising awareness and working to make change happen everywhere.

    His election does not end racism any more than Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the primaries guaranteed continued gender inequality. We’re not living in an either-or world. It’s just not that simple. But his election signals that we, as a people, have evolved to the point where the majority will act in a new way. When given the choice between fear and hope – the majority will now choose hope.

    As a woman, hope is my strongest ally. Hope smoothes my way and steadies my hand and calms my nightmares. And hope has been in short supply lately. But now it is making a comeback.

    It’s as though America is shaking itself and looking around and saying, “Wait. This isn’t what we are. We don’t divide people by haves and have-nots, by deserving and undeserving…by conditions of birthplace or family. We make opportunities, we open our arms to possibilities, we celebrate individuality and sacrifice and honesty. Anyone can realize their dreams here.”

    So, speaking as a complex, multi-dimensional woman, I tell you that the election of Barack Obama creates a climate where we can step forward and make our own hopes realities. The time is here for doing. Let’s be sure that we support policies and candidates and social movements that build on what happened here last Tuesday. Hope, not fear.

    Hope, not fear.

  8. Ashley Carr says:

    Kiki in DC, I am so moved and awed by your statement above. So beautifully stated. Thank you for sharing those thoughts here.

  9. Carol Rognrud says:

    Well said! Yes, thank you for sharing. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts throughout his term(s) (hopeful) as our President!

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