• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Female advocates look for gender equality

November 12, 2008 7:09:40 AM PST
Bay Area women's advocates say there is no doubt that gender bias played a big role in the presidential election -- and proves the point women have not achieved equality in society. That's inspired a grassroots movement to do something about it - something big.

"When the signs went up at Hilary Clinton's speeches "iron my socks", it tells you something about the legitimacy of gender prejudice. You didn't see signs at Obama rallies saying "shine my shoes," said Deborah Rhode, Stanford Law School Faculty.

Deborah Rhode, a Stanford University law professor and one of the nation's leading scholars on legal ethics and gender, says gender prejudice during the presidential campaign was unforgivably obvious. And it crossed into both political parties. Political pundits questioned whether Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, mother of five, including a special needs child, had time to focus on the White House.

"You know she wasn't running for mother of the year, and since when do we ask that of male candidates?" said Rhode.

Rhode says this past election shows that women haven't yet achieved full equality. And she's pleased to see a Bay Area grassroots group of activists has created a movement called www.womencount.org

"All about giving voices to women around the country who really felt that they didn't have a voice in the political process," said Stacy Mason, Executive Director of WomenCount.org.

Stacy Mason is one of the founders of WomenCount.org. The nonprofit political organization launched earlier this year, inspired by the inequalities during the presidential campaigning. It runs issue-related campaigns online.

"You know people are not organizing in living rooms and basements anymore. People are organizing online," said Mason.

The group is calling on President-Elect Obama to create a 'presidential commission on women' within his first 100-days of office. This commission would bring together a collection of the best thinkers around the country from all backgrounds, sectors and political parties - to impact the future of women in the U.S..

"We think there will be traditional women's issues. We think there will be issues of gender equalities, but we also want to have conversations about the role that women play in the conversation about repairing the economy," said Mason.

A presidential women's commission hasn't happened since president John Kennedy convened the first one in 1961. Women today make up 56 percent of the voting population. So organizers hope a new president will help make history.

"This is one way to raise your voice and to speak out and speak up," said Mason.

"I have no doubt that this is going to be a good administration for women," said Rhode.

Load Comments