Despite the fact that women make up more than 50 percent of the population, highly qualified women have been told to sit down and wait their turn for far too long. There has been no concerted effort by Party leadership to address the gender disparity we see among the ranks of elected officials, where we can work to see a legislature which reflects population make up.
As California Democrats, we should take up the shortcoming as a challenge and demonstrate leadership in rectifying the situation. When more women are involved, the outcomes are better for all, especially when those women are not afraid to buck the ‘go along to get along’ of status quo politics.
And we need to see more women of color – we understand in a personal way that racial, gender and economic justice are all intertwined and speak with particular authority when it comes to the issue of pay equity (nationally, Latina, Black and White women still make 54, 63 and 80 cents on the dollar men make). These number go down precipitously when women take a break to care for children or family members and then resume work.
The right to reproductive healthcare has been the hallmark of the Women’s movement for decades. Republicans have always made the denial of reproductive healthcare as a central weapon in the attack against working class families and recognition of equal rights. The times call for a deep and massive commitment to an organizing approach if we are to save our hard fought rights and finally realize a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights for all.
Here in California we have expanded legal protections for women and their right to choose. But we need to do more to ensure that women’s healthcare providers have the resources they need to keep their doors open. Continuing to fight for higher MediCal reimbursement rates will help places like Planned Parenthood keep their doors open and even expand their clinics in California. The Democratic Party needs to make this issue a priority.