The Power Of Women Voters – Climate Change, Abortion. Women’s Equality Day
Happy 103rd Birthday, 19th Amendment (aka Women’s Equality Day)! Many Americans don’t realize it wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified on this day, August 26th in 1920 that women were legally able to vote.
Women voters are coming out in unexpected droves in “off-year” elections, motivated by combatting the ballots and laws across the country trying to make it harder for women to make decisions about their own bodies without the politicians interfering. (Too many remember Senate-candidate Dr. Oz actually saying in a debate during the 2020 election that the decision should be between the woman, her doctor and the local politician.)
Women are also watching heat waves, floods, the horrible wave of massive, tragic wildfires, and the range of extreme weather decimating lives, communities, homes and businesses across the country.
Does this mean women will turn out in droves for the critically important 2024 presidential election next year too, when much is at stake from the climate to the economy to whether we have a democracy, as well as abortion rights?
Women are at greater risk and more focused on climate change
We’ll find out, but we do know that women are more at risk from extreme weather, including heat, based on a new Arsht Rock Atlantic Council study that found women experience heat-related costs of 256% vs. only 76% for men.
“Heat affects the health of women. It affects the health of everybody, but it’s disproportionately burdening women, physiologically, culturally, the clothes that we wear, responsibilities we have culturally. still providing all of the things that the family needs,” Kathy Baughman McLeod, Director of Arsht-Rock said at the Sun Valley Forum recently. “Oftentimes they’re the primary breadwinners, they’re the social cohesion,” she said, adding that, “the number one thing pushing them back into poverty is the climate impacts of heat and floods.”
GOP debate showed schism between Republican men and women on climate change
Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy found out at the Republican presidential candidates’ debate this week that Republican women are more focused on climate change too. When Ramaswamy called climate change “a hoax,” he got booed and the opinion research folks found his positives tank in real time.
A Navigator study that found 44% of Republican women agreed that climate change was “a very serious or somewhat serious” problem, and a Marist/NPR/PBS poll found 31% of Republican women think climate change is having a significant impact on the planet, according to the nonprofit news site The 19th. “Women care much more about climate than men, and most women won’t put up with climate denialist crap anymore,” even women voters in red states, Nathaniel Stinnett, founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit Environmental Voter Project (EVP). told The 19th.
The EVP also identified what they call “non-voting environmentalists,” who are registered voters who prioritize climate change but did not vote in 2020, and found a big gender gap among them, especially in red states. “In Texas, for example, about 60 percent of non-voting environmentalists were women, nearly two-thirds were aged 18 to 24 years old, and 37 percent were Latinx. In Florida, 53 percent were women, nearly 50 percent were aged 18 to 24 years old, and nearly 54 percent were people of color. The numbers show that there is an opening for candidates to motivate these voters,” The 19th reported.
A George Mason/Yale University study last year found that women were more “worried about climate change” than men, by a margin of 79% to 77% among Democrats, and 58% of Independent women versus 51% of independent men.