Political Scientist Says Female Vote Stays Liberal
The "gender gap" remains a factor in American politics despite President Reagan's recent good showing among women voters, an expert on women's noting said in a speech at Boylsion Hall last night.
"The women's vote kept Reagan's coat taifs short tails," said Ethelklein, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University.
She cited the elections for the House of Representatives as evidence that women continue to vote liberal and Democratic.
Klein is the author of "Gender Politics" and an ex-professor of Government at Harvard.
Speaking to a predominately female audience, Klein defined the gender gap as the fact that women and men have different priorities and therefore cast different votes.
Klein traced the historical roots of the gender gap to the end of the sixties, when women began to take themselves seriously in the public sphere. "There has been a women's vote since 1972 when a majority of the women voter's voted for McGovern, "she said.
"The women's vote is an issue vote," said Klein. The major issues are social services, peace, and unemployment.
According to Klein, the Mondale-Ferraro campaign lost the women's vote when it failed to address these issues. It was not enough simply to have a female candidate, she added.
"The gender gap is not about women candidates, it is about issues and talking about them from a women's perspective, making that perspective valid, "she said.
But Ferraro broke new ground for women, said Klein, making the women's perspective more valid. Women candidates will now be taken seriously and attract funding for their campaigns now, she added.
She cited statistics from Senate elections in which women put Democratic candidates "over the top." In the recent Massachusetts Senatorial race, Democrat John Kerry garnered more than 60% of the women's vote, insuring his victory.
The speech was co-sponsored by the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) and the Faculty Committee on Women's Studies.
"Klein made the point that the women's... vote did not simply appear and disappear," said Jeanne L. Wirka '86, president of the RUS.
"The speech was educational and, as Ethel would say, empowering," said Ann Pellegini '86 who, with Wirka, organized the event. "We are trying to get the women's voice heard on campus and this is part of the effort", she said.