If you care about advancing gender justice, vote in the midterm elections.
Women’s rights are under attack. In the United States—and around the world—we are witnessing the rapid backsliding of the rights of women and gender-diverse individuals. From abortion bans to a lack of legal protections for working women to systematized oppression, women are being denied the most basic of rights. We need leaders who will not only protect women’s rights, but also advocate for expanding them.
How you cast your ballot on or before November 8 could determine whether the fight for gender justice advances or retreats. This moment is too important to give up. Use your power as a voter to pave the way to a more equal future. If all of us come together, our votes will make a difference.
Vote to advance abortion access and reproductive rights
As the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision demonstrated, we are once again having to argue for one of the most basic rights for women and gender-diverse individuals: abortion. In one swift decision, the Supreme Court stripped away decades of work to allow women, trans, intersex, and non-gender conforming individuals to enjoy bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.
Following the Supreme Court decision, abortions are now banned in at least 13 states, and legal battles over abortion access are ongoing in several states. Legal experts have also expressed concerns over restrictions to contraception access. We must ensure that abortion is safe and accessible, so that those people who seek to terminate a pregnancy—for whatever reason—may do so without jeopardizing their life, health, or wellbeing. Oxfam will not stop pushing for the protection of rights and we hope you will join us so that we don’t get sent back to a past when women and gender-diverse had no say over women and gender-diverse people’s bodies with the stroke of a pen.
Use your vote to advocate for abortion access and reproductive rights for all.
Vote to expand protections for working women
Where a woman lives and works can define whether she will be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace and whether or not she can provide for a family. Around Labor Day, Oxfam released our Best States and Worst States for Working Women Index, which ranks states based on three dimensions: wage policies, worker protections, and rights to organize.
In North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi—the states at the bottom of our index—worker protections for women are almost non-existent; minimum and tipped wages are at the federal minimum of $7.25 and $2.13, respectively; and rights to organize are denied to workers. These states also have no protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Use your vote to ensure that working women—regardless of where they live—are paid equitably and guaranteed basic legal protections in the workplace.
Vote to support working mothers and create a care infrastructure
We are facing a care crisis and it is disproportionately impacting working mothers. When the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) ended in December 2021, child poverty jumped from 12.1 percent to 17 percent. Low-wage working families who were briefly able to more easily feed their children and pay for child-care related costs were once again without support.
Since the start of the pandemic, women—due in large part by the disproportionate care responsibilities and the lack of support at federal and state levels for caregivers—have left the workforce in droves, resulting in financial insecurity. The lack of affordable child care and elder care, as well as the lack of paid leave for people needing to give birth or care for loved ones, means many workers are given the choice between employment or providing care.
Women are also the back bone of the care industry. It’s an industry that has long been underfunded and overlooked, but the lack of investment in care was thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic. The National Women’s Law Center reported that child care is one of the most underpaid professions—even before the pandemic, the poverty rate among child care workers was more than double that of women workers in other fields, and these workers are disproportionately women of color and immigrant women. Now, we are facing a shortage due to low pay in the sector: there 100,000 fewer child care workers in the US than pre-pandemic.
We need leaders who will fund affordable, accessible child care and help ensure living wages for providers and all workers.
Use your vote to support solutions that work for working families and care workers.
Vote to push back on global attacks on women’s rights
It’s not just in the United States that women’s rights are under attack. We’re seeing a reduction in rights for women and gender-diverse people around the world. Earlier this month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that: “Women’s and children’s health and rights are threatened to a degree not seen in more than a generation.” We are seeing this play out in the news cycle right now in Iran, where “morality police” have been empowered to discriminate, abuse, and murder women under the guise of doling out justice. US policies carry global impacts. A recent report co-authored by Oxfam and Tahirih Justice Center shows how US asylum deterrence policies are fostering conditions that cause gender-based violence to proliferate at the US-Mexico border.
These attacks on women’s rights are increasing at an alarming rate and for those of us who believe in an equal future, can feel disheartening. But the midterm elections present an opportunity to mobilize, for all of us to use our votes to protest the backwards trajectory and stand up for the rights of women and gender diverse people everywhere. Research has shown that in nearly every state, more women have increased new voter registration compared to before the Supreme Court decision. We can use our outrage to build a move for change. If you care about creating real, systemic change so everyone can thrive, not just survive, make sure you get to the ballot box (and urge your friends, family, and coworkers to do so too) on or before election day.
Use your vote to support leaders who call for change and for the global protection of women’s rights.