Vote For What You Believe In
By Lynn Branigan
I believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg would approve of me borrowing – and slightly adjusting – one of her most famous quotes. She said, “fight for what you believe in,” and I think that spirit and energy is essential for the 2020 election.
A lot has happened to women in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted women, a fact described by the UN Women’s explainer website: “A profound shock to our societies and economies, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores society’s reliance on women both on the front line and at home, while simultaneously exposing structural inequalities across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection.”
- In April of this year, women accounted for 55% of the 20.5 million workers who became unemployed.
- While 67% of the health workforce is comprised of women, including 80% of nursing staff, they continued to earn only a fraction of the income that men earn for the same work.
- With families sheltering in place, the pressure on in-home care increased significantly, and according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), women continued to perform 76.2% of total hours of unpaid care work.
- Calls to the national domestic hotline dropped 50% during the Covid lockdown, but most experts attribute that to chronic isolation and a likely increase in danger to women, not to a reduction in abuse.
Yes, a lot has happened TO women, but so much has also been done, and can be done, BY women. We stand in awe of the resilience that has been demonstrated by women all over the world who have delivered care, hope, activism, innovation, endurance, creativity, persistence, and so much more in the face of unthinkable adversity.
Yet it isn’t enough to stand in awe. We have to act. We have to vote. However you vote, get to the polls (or mail in your ballot) and exercise your right to influence the future. As Michelle Obama so marvelously said, “We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can. We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow up to make sure they’re received. And then make sure our friends and families do the same. We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too, because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.