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Women Bring Change to Ballot Boxes Across America

sasserAs reporters, pundits and academics sift through the mountains of data from Election Day 2012, one big voting block is getting a lot of attention — women.

More women voted than men this election and 55 percent of them voted for President Obama. Among single women, the total was even higher — 67 percent.

In the end, said Jade Sasser (pictured), assistant professor of Women’s Studies, “Women saw President Obama as a champion of women’s rights.”

The 2012 election campaign was peppered with contentious debates about women’s reproductive and workplace rights, to the point where some observers described the rhetoric as a “war on women.”

In the 1970s, women staged protests in the streets for women’s rights. This time around, Sasser said, women listened to what the candidates had to say, and when the talking was over, “They protested with their votes.”

Women used the ballot box to increase female representation in Congress. For the first time, women make up one-fifth of the Senate and almost one-fifth of the House of Representatives.

On the state level, New Hampshire became the first state to send an all-female delegation to Congress and elected the only female Democratic governor in the country.

In short, the 2012 election was the most important election for women in 20 years, Sasser said. “The gender perspective is increasingly important in analyzing problems and issues around the world, in everything from politics to the environment, to disaster preparedness and response,” she said.