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Rallying for sanity against sexism; We've come a long way...maybe?


MsRepresentation DAILY BRIEF: October 30, 2010

Please enjoy this digestible overview of important women and politics news - part of WCF's MsRepresentation project for the 2010 elections.

Sexist, Slanderous and Shameful

MsRep may not often agree with Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell on policy, but you've got to hand it to her–or technically her communication director Doug Sachtleben–for a statement decrying Gawker's "one night stand" story as sexist, slanderous and shameful. "This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with," he said, via the candidate's Facebook page. "Such attacks are truly shameful, but they will not distract us from making our case to Delaware voters." We don't think she makes a strong case, but Sachtleben is right that she should be able to make it without dealing with this junk.

Attack Money Aimed at Pro-Choice Candidates

Sharon Johnson of Women's eNews reports that a lot late money during the 2010 midterms–the first cycle following the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling–is being dumped into ads attacking pro-choice candidates.

Pow(er) Wow

Pretty cool development out West, as reported in USA Today: New Mexico state senator Lynda Lovejoy's campaign to become the first female president of the Navajo Nation is "the closest any woman has come to heading the 300,000-member nation, which spreads across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah."

You've Come a Long Way….Maybe?

That's the provocative theme of an essay by The Nation's Greg Mitchell, who takes us back to the mostly forgotten 1962 California gubernatorial race between Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas. In many ways, the treatment of Douglas back then foreshadowed much of what we still see today when women run for high office.

Steinem: Real Mama Grizzlies Vote Pro-Choice

After reminding us that many conservative and/Republican politics of a bygone era–including both eventual presidents George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan–were originally pro-choice before caving to conservative pressure, Gloria Steinem drops some knowledge:

"In this country, however, right-wing opposition to sex education in public schools and to birth control as preventive health care─indeed, opposition to same-sex couples or any admission that human sexuality is not now and never has been solely about reproduction─has contributed to the highest teenage birthrate in any developed country. Indeed, 60 percent of all U.S. births are unplanned. That's twice the rate of unintended pregnancies in comparable nations."

Women Govs Govern Differently

Not much surprising here to report, but at least somebody has crunched the numbers: After examining governors' state-of-the-state speeches between 2006 and 2007, political scientist Brianne Heidbreder of Kansas State University found distinct differences in the policy agendas of male and female governors–but attributable not so much to their gender as their partisan affiliations.

State Update: NH, NV & NY

Top female politicians in New Hampshire, including Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, got together Thursday on a panel hosted by the University of New Hampshire to discuss the role of women in government; The Hill continues a theme MsRep seems to report daily: In Nevada congressional race, SEIU is hoping to pull Congresswoman Dina Titus over the finish line next Tuesday by appealing to female voters; in the New Roosevelt Institute's Bill Samuels writes that "there is one surefire way voters can help the cause–electing more women to the state legislature."

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