I direct your attention to a concise piece in The Economist that details where the women’s vote now sits in the U.S. with mere days left until the presidential election.
In short: It sits with Obama, by 54% to McCain’s 39%.
Elizabeth May, the sole female party leader, failed to win a seat in the House of Commons last night.
And how did other women do?
Looks like a new high: 68 women were elected to the House. That’s up from a previous record of 65 in 2004.
More women ran in this election than any other: 437 out of 1,593 candidates. Stephen Harper’s victorious Conservatives fielded only 60 women, or 20% of their total candidates, the worst representation of all five major parties. The Liberals had the highest at 37%, the NDP ran 34%, the Bloc 28% and the Green party 29%.
Can’t feel totally buoyed by the overall results. Last time I checked we were 50% of the population. But there’s always a next time.
I vowed to back off on blogging about Sarah Palin — ’nuff was enough — but I have to say something about last night.
Well… I guess debate camp worked! All that coaching, cramming, script-memorizing and last-minute policy concocting actually made her avoid “the sentence to nowhere” (as comic Bill Maher describes Palin’s usual speaking style).
She didn’t answer the questions at the start, reverting to the entirely nauseating argument that, oh, she’s just such a maverick that she won’t answer the way Biden or Gwen Ifill — or the American public? — want her to.
But all those winky “you betchas” surely held their sway over “Joe Six Pack” and “the hockey moms.” And yes, Biden lost me when he went into the finer points of amendments and bill-passing (zzzz), though I think, overall, he was more focussed and detailed on the future of his country than Governor “Drill Baby Drill.”
All in all, Sarah Palin from a month ago is back. Oh dear oh dear.
On to a debate that actually directly affects us!
I think Stephen Harper should have pulled a few more swift comebacks out of his jacket pocket than he did. He was positively hammered by the other four party leaders in the leadership debate. Though he did lash back at Dion by characterizing his behaviour in Wednesday night’s French-language debate as “panic.”
Harper said: “What leaders have to do is to have a plan and not panic. Last night, Stéphane, you panicked. You came on the set and announced a whole new economic plan in the middle of a national debate.”
The line of the night, of course, came from Jack Layton to Harper: “You say you have a plan. Where is it? Under the sweater?” And predictably, that’s what’s making the news today.
Though her French-language skills the night before left a great deal to be desired, Elizabeth May, who fought to be at the debating table, was forceful and quick, full of pointed zingers. Don’t know if she’s for me but I’m glad she was there.
Reports are pouring out of Rwanda on the subject of its recent election, the second to occur since the 1994 genocide. The Rwandan Patriotic Front, the ruling party, has won 42 out of the 53 parliamentary seats up for grabs, resulting in a dramatic first, not only for the nation but for the world: Rwanda is now the only country where women outnumber men in the legislature.
The credit, supporters of the controversial President Paul Kagame say, goes to Kagame’s gender-equality plan for government.
Key women’s groups in the U.S., including the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Feminist Majority Political Action Committee (FMPAC), have announced that they’re backing Barack Obama for President, citing a lack of support on women’s issues on the part of the McCain camp.
In the words of the FMPAC chair Eleanor Smeal: “We don’t think it’s much to break a glass ceiling for one woman” — namely Sarah Palin — “and leave millions of women behind.”