Rabbi Marla Feldman

Playing Hard to Get



Well, it’s about time. After decades of diligent voting, my vote finally counts. According to recent New York Times article, “In Weak Economy, an Opening to Court Votes of Single Women” (August 7, 2012), pollsters and politicians have finally realized that us single gals are a force to be reckoned with. According to the article, single women are a growing population and constitute a quarter of the voting population. That voting power is even stronger in certain swing states. So now we are apparently being ‘courted’ – though I’m not exactly feeling the love. No one has sent me any flowers recently.

Courters beware – we are also told that these ‘legions of unmarried women’ are ‘fickle’ voters. We are less concerned about political machinations than more pragmatic challenges, such as paying our bills, jobs and health concerns. Since, on average, single women earn less than married women or single men and have a higher unemployment rate, it’s no wonder we are preoccupied.

Here’s a shocker – it turns out that single women care more about what a candidate will do than about their party affiliation. We care about education, reproductive rights, pay equity, and access to health care.  And policies that impact the social safety net are of particular concern to the many single women who are also mothers and, sadly, often reliant on that safety net. Maybe we should play hard to get and make them work for our vote. What do you think?

While according to one pollster we are a ‘fertile’ demographic group for candidates to woo (seriously?), the challenge is that too many of us simply don’t vote. That’s particularly true for 18-29 year olds. So c’mon gals – let’s round up all our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and friends and get to the polls. It may not get us a husband, but it just may get us insurance coverage for birth control. And with all that courting and wooing and fertility going on, we just may need it!

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman is the Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism.

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