According to CNN box stats flashed on-screen, over half the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are women. They were in evidence at two events that took place on Monday.
From 8am-2pm, a symposium entitled Unconventional Women was held. The lead organizer of the event was former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Swanee Hunt. Sliding scale admission fees benefited four nonpartisan partners: Women’s Voices, Women Vote; Women’s Campaign Forum; Latina Initiative; The White House Project.
“Politics without women like you is a recipe for injustice,” was the tag line. In a television interview with local news, Hunt spoke about the impact women have when they become involved in a political structure, such as Congress. She maintained that the influence of women creates a shift in budget priorities — to the areas of education, health care, and the environment. Hunt also observed that women drive a focus to groups that have been traditionally marginalized.
In the afternoon, a “Feminist Gathering and Celebration of Women’s Equality Day” was hosted by the National Organization of Women, The Feminist Majority, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and the National Association of Social Workers. Behind a podium draped with a banner that declared, “Feminists are the Majority,” a series of speakers addressed the assembled crowd.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, told listeners, “Feminists are everywhere.” She qualified the Democratic platform as “the strongest platform for women’s rights every adopted by a major party in the United States.” She discussed how it opposed “any and all efforts to undermine Roe v. Wade,” adding, “You name it, we got it in.” She talked about the strength of the Democratic ticket asserting that on women’s issues, “Sen. Biden has been there time and time again.”
EMILY’S List President, Ellen R. Malcolm, stated, “I think we are going to see change in this country because we are going to have the largest turnout of women we have seen in decades.” She spoke about the anger of women who had been “left behind by the Bush Republicans,” and how “women have the power to take our country back.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters thanked the attendees for standing up for the women of “this nation and this world” while urging that women’s issues not be compromised. Kim Gandy, President of NOW, emphasized that the issue wasn’t just about protecting women’s rights, but “moving them forward.”
Reflecting on the critical importance of the 2008 election, Congresswoman Jackie Speier invoked the specter of a Supreme Court with McCain appointees. She said of each individual’s need to participate, “If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
On a humorous note, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney noted, “This is the strongest pro-woman platform I have seen since I learned to read.” A strong advocate of the ERA, she pointed out that it had been reinstated after its deletion in 2004.
There were special remarks to commemorate the achievements and contributions of Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1949-2008).
During primetime convention coverage, the visibility of women on stage was matched by that of women delegates on the floor. The evening ending with Michelle Obama’s rousing speech and call to arms, “The world as it is, just won’t do.”