New campaign mobilizes women voters to defend health and economic rights

LatinaLista — Tomorrow, August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. It’s a day when women were granted the right to vote.

It’s a day that is mostly remembered with presidential proclamations, news articles, opinion pieces and historical footage showing how women in the 1920s, known as the suffragettes, garnered the right to vote for all women.

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Yet, what about today?

While women still have the power to vote, there are certain federal health and economic programs, primarily benefitting women, that are under attack by a Congress with the federal deficit on the brain.

To raise awareness about what could happen to women if these programs are cut, a new organization has launched called Hervotes. The main purpose of Hervotes is to mobilize women voters in 2012 around preserving women’s Health and Economic Rights (HER rights.)

Twenty different women’s organizations, ranging from the American Association of University Women and the Black Women’s Roundtable to the National Council of Jewish Women and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, have banded together for this initiative.

The top priorities of HERvotes are to educate and engage more women to use their voices and their votes to urge lawmakers who seek to represent them to:

Stop the attacks on historic advances for women;

Preserve successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;

Respect women’s contribution to the economy; and

Act on jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security.

Hervotes released a list of top ten historic laws that impacted women’s lives and which are now in danger of being “weakened, cut or eliminated by extremist policies at the federal, state and local levels.”

The ten acts identified by Hervotes are: Social Security, The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Medicare, Medicaid, Title IX of the Education Amendments that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs or activities, Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, The Violence Against Women Act and The Affordable Care Act.

Melanie L. Campbell, president & CEO and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, said, “Women of color will be disproportionately impacted by the attacks on these top 10 historic laws that empower women to live our best lives for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation. For instance, cuts in Social Security would send more women of color into poverty. The National Senior Citizens Law Center recently released a report that the majority of single women of color rely on social security for 90 percent of their income.”

Linda Hallman, executive director and CEO of the Association of American University Women (AAUW) said, “From Women’s Equality Day 2011 to Election Day 2012, we will be reaching out to women and urging them to talk to the other women in their lives – their moms, their sisters, their daughters, their friends, their neighbors and their coworkers – so that we can increase voter turnout and bring forward women’s voices in the national discussion on jobs, health care, education and family economic security.”

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