National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Election 2012: A Good Day for Women, A Good Day for the Country

November 8, 2012 | Workplace Fairness

Cross-posted from the Huffington Post.

In reelecting President Obama and significantly increasing the numbers of women and progressives in the United States Senate, Americans have said 'yes' to fair pay for women, 'yes' to policies that make our workplaces more family friendly, 'yes' to ending gender discrimination and strengthening consumer protections in health insurance, and 'yes' to a more patient- and family-centered health care system.

And voters said 'yes' to a president who stands ready to block every single effort to wage war on women. It's a good day for women and a good day for the country.

This election was noteworthy. At the national level, there was unprecedented attention to issues that matter deeply to women, including fair pay and reproductive health. That women helped carry the day for a president who took -- and touted -- his support for measures that will end gender discrimination and protect women's health should not be a surprise.

The election was also noteworthy in that a number of candidates for high-level office made horrifying statements that demonstrated deep ignorance -- and real callousness -- about rape and its consequences. It is certainly encouraging that voters soundly rejected those candidates in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Washington state.

Our country's rich diversity was evident in this election, which was deeply personal to many people as evidenced by their commitment to vote despite long lines and other obstacles. And although the electorate is, in some ways, divided, it is clear that the nation does not want to return to the days when discrimination was commonplace, almost no workplaces were family friendly, women could not access safe, legal abortion, women paid more than men for the same health coverage and even those of us with health insurance had to hope and pray that we didn't lose our homes and our life savings when a family member got sick.

It was not long ago that issues like fair pay, abortion rights, health reform and family and medical leave had bipartisan support. At the National Partnership, we hope they will all have bipartisan support again very soon. We urge every official who was elected to abandon attacks on women and the politics of division, and instead work together for the progress the nation needs. With the toughest of budget and fiscal decisions just ahead, it is absolutely imperative that all lawmakers make it a priority to protect the most vulnerable among us by preserving and strengthening the safety net.

That is what the nation wants. Voters were determined to make their voices heard, and they voted for a future where the basic American values of fairness, opportunity and compassion are a reality for all of us.


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