Women can decide the outcome of this election. Historically, women have voted strongly Democratic. As recently as 2008 there was a 13% gender gap for Barack Obama.
That was then. This is now. A recent poll said women were favoring Republicans by 6 %, the first time that I can remember that women were more favorable towards Republicans than Democrats.
A recent CNN poll which tracked the enthusiasm gap, found that only 23% of women were "extremely enthusiastic" about the election compared to 38% of men.
Are we going back to pre-19th Amendment days and letting the men decide what's good for us? It is shocking news to learn that women are less likely to vote at all, and then that they are more likely to vote Republican.
Have we forgotten so quickly what the Republican agenda is for women? Yes, women, like men, are most concerned about jobs and being able to support their families. Traditional women's issues like the right to choose when and whether to have a child have taken a back seat to more
immediate worries. Still, we cannot forget what is at stake. The Republican agenda is, and always has been, to repeal Roe v. Wade, and at the very least, erode it to the greatest extent possible.
When it comes to women's right to equal pay, it is Republican filibusters in the Senate which have stopped the Paycheck Fairness Act, and Republicans who have shut the door on paid sick days, and flexibility legilation. How will we ever put these policies in place which protect women' economic interests if we elect more politicians who fight them tooth and nail?
It's time for women to wake up, to use the power of the vote, to honor the suffragists who chained themselves to the White House fence so that women could vote. Susan B. Anthony must be turning in her grave if she knew that millions of women who have the right to vote, are not exercising it. Why? Because they haven't got the interest or the time, or they have just given up hope.
Remember what Susan B. Anthony said? "Failure is impossible."
Failure is possible if women don't vote.
Lets prove the pundits wrong and go to the polls and vote for the candidates who believe in strong families, good education, access to health care, equal pay, and a woman's right to chose.
Madeleine M. Kunin is the former Governor of Vermont and was the state's first woman governor. She served as Ambassador to Switzerland for President Clinton, and was on the three-person panel that chose Al Gore to be Clinton's VP. She is the author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead from Chelsea Green Publishing.