Politicians need ‘Y’ to win

by Becka Neary

Women vote – more than men do – so presidential candidates aresearching for ways to connect with their female constituency.

In the 2000 election, 56 percent of the female population votedwhile only 53.1 percent of men did according to the U.S. CensusBureau.

“Women make up a majority of the voters,” said senior MichaelSchrodt, a Democrat. “In fact, what helped Al Gore with the popularvote in 2000 was that he won 11 percent [more women’s votes thanBush].”

Political parties have recognized the influence women have inelections, and have developed specific programs to influencewomen.

Republican junior Carl Benskin said President George W. Bush hasstrong support from women due to deliberate programming.

“The organization W Stands for Women is an off-branch of theBush campaign,” said Benskin. “They have done a lot of focusing onwomen’s issues and what the President is going to do for women andalso getting women to vote.”

The Democratic party is also doing its part.

“The Democrats are focusing on issues that are important towomen: education, security and health care costs,” Schrodtsaid.

Yet some of the female population still suffers from voterapathy.

The most popular excuses for non-voting women in the 2000presidential election were being too busy and or having aconflicting schedule, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I really don’t get into [the campaign] until right beforevoting, a lot of the times I don’t have the time,” Custodian TinaEdwards said. “I try to encourage my daughter, but she isn’tinterested in voting.”

Women are underrepresented in government, which may discouragesome from voting. Only 62 of 435 members of the House ofRepresentatives are women.

“I’ve met so many young girls that at the age of 6 say they aregoing to be the President,” said Susanne Gubanc, assistantprofessor of communication studies. “I don’t know what happened tothose young girls. At some point in their life [they must have]realized they can’t be president.”

Some women feel they still struggle with male supremacy.

“This is a man’s world and women don’t get a chance to do a lotof things that men are doing, like being in office,” Edwards said.”Some men don’t take women seriously.”

Benskin said party lines may not matter to women at the ballotbox.

“I think women vote their conscience, which may or may not be inline with their husband’s vote,” Benskin said.

Agreeing with Benskin, Schrodt said, “All politics is local, youvote based on some sort of personal reasoning.”

With less than a month away from elections, women are gearing upto vote.

“I will vote, I always vote,” Edwards said. “I figure it’s theAmerican way.”