Election Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to vote. Need some motivation? Here are seven reasons you should make sure you vote on November 4.
1. You’re a woman.
With 79 women in the House and 20 in the Senate, women make up only 18.5 percent of Congress—but women are 51 percent of the population. See a problem there? We need more women in office to better represent us.
2. You’re not a woman.
Gender isn’t the only area we need more representation. Women of color make up a paltry five percent of Congress. And while EMILY’s List has helped elect 97 percent of the Democratic women of color in ever elected to Congress—including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic woman currently serving in office—there’s still progress to be made. It’s time we had a Congress that looks like the people it represents.
3. You use birth control—or don't want someone you love to accidentally get pregnant.
More than 99 percent of women ages 15-44 who have had sex have used one or more types of birth control. And yet even this year, from the Hobby Lobby decision to the Republican Party suddenly pretending to favor over-the-counter birth control (it’s not what you think), birth control is a hot issue. Do you think we’d even still be having this conversation if more women had a seat at the decision-making table? (Spoiler: No. No, we would not.) Women’s ability to control when/how/if they start a family is crucial to their economic security throughout their lives. This decision will impact their income, education, workplace participation, family stability, mental health, and the well-being of their children. In fact, increased use of birth control helped narrow the gender wage gap by almost 10 percent in the 1980s. When you’re in charge of your own body, outcomes are better.
4. You’re pretty much over your body being used as a political battleground.
One out of every three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. These are common, shared experiences among women, but these are issues that are being legislated more than ever. Between 2011 and 2013 there were more bills introduced to limit reproductive rights than in the entire previous decade. Enough already.
5. You like to earn money.
Women are the primary breadwinners for 40 percent of all households with young children. But white women on average make only 78 cents for every $1 a man makes and the numbers are even lower if you’re African-American or Latina. This isn’t just a “woman’s issue”—it’s an economic issue.
6. You value your health insurance.
Fewer issues have been talked about ad nauseam more than health care. But the bottom line is that millions more women are able to get coverage under Obamacare. A woman can no longer be denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy, past C-sections, breast or cervical cancer, or previous treatment of domestic abuse. So when politicians talk about wanting to do away with health care reform entirely, you might want to tell them to think again.
7. Voting for state and local offices makes a big difference!
Voter turnout for midterm elections is historically lower than years with a presidential election. But why?! Your state and local candidates are just as critical as federal candidates. Many of the laws that affect your health care, reproductive rights, income, family leave, transportation, and access to voting all start at the state level. So not only does voting for state and local offices have direct policy implications, it also builds the pipeline for the next generation of elected officials who will eventually run for federal office.
These are seven great reasons to make sure you get out and vote this year. What are your reasons? Leave them in the comments below. Need help with your voting plan? Google Elections has a great website that will help you figure out where to vote and what’s on your ballot.
Alison McQuade is the Digital Press Secretary at EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women and politics. She’s not ashamed to admit that wrote this entire piece while listening to Taylor Swift’s 1989. She is also ready to vote on November 4. Follow her on Twitter @akmcquade.