Election 2012: the year of the woman?

With five out of six victories going to women candidates, the Wisconsin recall elections have shown us one thing: 2012 is set to be the year of the woman. Republicans who supported Governor Walker’s union busting bill are being challenged by pro-choice women. These women – Nancy Nusbaum, Sandy Pasch, Shelly Moore, Jessica King and Jennifer Shilling are foreshadowing what is to come on the national level.

If all of the Democratic women hold their seats next fall, the Democrats will hold the Senate. With the assault both on at reproductive rights the state and national level, electing and re-electing women candidates is essential to pushing back against anti-women legislation. Union busting bills are anti-woman as well, as many of the jobs with unionized employees are jobs held by women like nursing and teaching. For example, 73% of the membership of the American Federation of Teachers is female. The debate over the debt ceiling and spending cuts have targeted many of the programs and resources women rely on for healthcare, family planning and the social safety net.

Not all women candidates are created equal however: Michele Bachmann’s rise in the Republican primary is an example of this phenomenon. Not every female candidate should be supported. That said, EMILY’s List is a great place to start when determining which candidates to support with your donations and your volunteer hours. EMILY’s list spokesperson Jess McIntosh told Bloomberg News that “Republicans are waging war against the very things that keep women and their families thriving…That is a huge motivator for women to run and for women voters to turn out.”

The success of pro-choice Democratic women in the recall elections in Wisconsin and the recent congressional election victories of Democrats Kathy Hochul in NY-26 and Janice Hahn in CA-36 strengthen the argument that by framing the Republican’s proposals as anti-woman on all levels, Democrats can get women voters across the country to turn out in droves.

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