On the Ground

Pennsylvania is one of nine worst states for women. What’s at stake is our health and well being.  We want to change that.  We need your help to educate, inspire and mobilize your community to take action for women now.

Pennsylvania has been ranked as one of the nine worst states for women with respect to the following: (1) employment and earnings; (2) political participation, (3) economic and social autonomy, 4) reproductive rights, and (5) health and well-being. These facts are astonishing. We believe there is a strong correlation between women’s legal, health, and economic status in Pennsylvania and their voting patterns in non-presidential elections.

According to the Voter Participation Center, there are 109.5 million women eligible to register to vote in America. One out of every two women in this nation is unmarried, which accounts for 53 million women. Even though the number of unmarried women in the United States is on the rise, the upsurge of this fast growing demographic is not matched by electoral involvement – a surprising 39% of unmarried women were not registered to vote in 2010. It is not a coincidence that the post-2010 election period spawned an overabundance of anti-woman legislative activity and rhetoric. Here in Pennsylvania, the 2011 legislature devoted fully one-third of its legislative days to issues associated with restricting access to abortion.

Compounding all of this, Pennsylvania has one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, which disproportionately affects women. Many states have same day registration, mail in ballots, and other processes to facilitate voting. Pennsylvania is one of the states leading the effort to further restrict voting by passing an unnecessary and burdensome voting ID law. This doesn’t help matters.

Although Presidential Election years are exciting and have larger voter turnout, it is the non-Presidential elections that have the greatest impact on our daily lives. We elect members to the Pennsylvania General Assembly as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The Pennsylvania General Assembly has a more direct impact on policy implications and effects on equality for women. Unfortunately, too many women just aren’t showing up to the polls for those elections. Between the 2008 Presidential race and the 2010 off-year election, Pennsylvania had 2 million fewer voters; most of whom were women. WomenVote PA wants to change that.

The facts associated with the status of women across the state are not pretty. It is vitally important that local activists, embedded in their own communities, be engaged to help enlighten women about what is actually happening in their own backyards.