Friday, June 1, 2012

League of Women Voters

Let me start with a little bit of history. My mother was a New Yorker, through and through. She moved to Philadelphia when she married my father, and the New Yorker in her moved with her to Philadelphia.

Eventually, one of her New York friends also moved to the Philadelphia area. Her friend had been and remained active in the League of Women Voters and this puzzled me. I had met very little gender discrimination in my life. Once, in fifth or sixth grade, when I thought I would run for class President my mother scoffed and said, "you don't have a chance. The girls will vote for the boys and the boys will vote for the boys. Save your energy." So I did - save my energy that is - and never ran for a class office.

And then, not until I applied for graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and had already been granted an NIMH fellowship, did gender discrimination raise its ugly head again. At the interview, I was asked, "why should we give a spot to you, a girl, when you're just going to get married and not use it when we can give it to a man?" I was incensed, gathered my dignity, and said, "because I'm smarter than all the boys who have applied." I was admitted, got my MA, and have been a happy degreed person since.

Now to the League of Women Voters and I have to admit that I see the necessity of this organization. I never thought that we would see the day when the politicians are trying to deny the right to vote to women and are trying even harder to deny women the rights that we have struggled to obtain - the right to preventive health care, the right to equal pay for equal work, the right to be free from violence in our homes and in the workplace, and the right to our privacy.

And, in the name of preventing a mythical voter fraud, the politicians are trying to disenfranchise many, many voters.

My only conclusion - vote for the DEMOCRATS.

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