I Waited Until The Polls Closed To Say This: It’s Insulting To Have Only Men Running On Women’s Issues

I waited until the polls closed to say this:

It’s insulting to have only men running on women’s issues.

I live in Virginia. I am a feminist. I am a Democrat. And, I am disgusted.

This is me and my daughter doing a September literature drop in Arlington for the Democratic slate. At the time, she was 15 weeks old:


We walked for hours through the heat distributing copies of a newsletter featuring the photographs of nine men the Democratic party urged Arlingtonians to vote for. No women.

You don’t need me to tell you women’s issues are front and center in the Virginia election. Nearly every ad on television has been about abortion, and/or has featured women surrogates speaking for candidates on both sides. I have been receiving invitations to attend events with “the candidate’s wives.” As I type, the races have not been called and all local and national pollsters are talking about women voters. Because, duh, that is a major part of what this election is about.

The more I walked with my daughter, the madder I got. What kind of feminist mom am I?

Every day I work for policies that will support her future. It is important to me to include her in some of my work. I want her to understand how politics work. We have not just campaigned together, we have gone lobbying on Capitol Hill together. I want her to see public service as accessible. There is a woman suffrage poster in her nursery. I have been encouraging her to run for Governor of Virginia when she grows up.

By no means do I want to send a message to her that women’s issues are important, and they are best handled by men.

By public appearances at least, the feminist infrastructure in my state supports all the Democratic men without making public comments about how wrong it is that women weren’t included — not just as wives, not just as issues, not just as voters — but on the ticket.

It is unacceptable to run on women’s issues without women on the ticket. Men can and should run in support of women’s rights, but men also need to make room for women to share leadership with them. I am new to Virginia, having moved here in March. Perhaps some will say I am naive. I made a decision to not say anything about this until the polls had closed. I considered whether to say anything at all.

It’s true that I am a newcomer and don’t know the intricacies of the Arlington Democratic politics. It’s also true that I vehemently agree that this year’s Republican ticket was dangerous for women, and I was committed to electing Democrats.

But clearly, whatever excuses I’m about to get, the continuous presence of unchecked “women are important! let’s have men lead the way!” messages and deeds is pandering and it’s wrong.

I will not remain silent through a future election cycle. It should have been a woman running against Ken Cuccinelli. At a minimum, there should have been women running down the ticket.

If Democrats want to run campaigns on women’s issues, and I agree that they should, they must immediately begin to make room for women on the ticket. Women must run. And the party must support us in our capacity as not just constituents, but leaders.

14 thoughts on “I Waited Until The Polls Closed To Say This: It’s Insulting To Have Only Men Running On Women’s Issues

  1. onlinewithzoe

    breastfeeding while working, enough bathrooms, daycare, maternity leave, professional advancement, equal wages, the fair paycheck act, ACCESS. I wish the Democratic party would decide to build a strong, clear, inclusive path for women in all stages of their lives. Seniors, mothers, child-free women, paid interns – women. The party of women. It is a lot to ask and all required to break the basement ceiling, the kitchen ceiling, all those barriers we trivialize by calling them ceilings.

  2. I agree that women should be on the ticket more often. However, step 1 should be for a woman (or women) to run in the primary, but in the VA election, not a single woman ran in either primary.

  3. Totally totally agreed, Erin. One of the reasons I like womenwinning in Minnesota is that they believe exactly that. And they are GREAT — looks like Betsy Hodges will be the 2nd woman mayor of Minneapolis (EVER) at least in part because of their great work.

  4. Women are not viable candidate as we don’t control the majority of the wealth in the United States. The majority of wealth is closely guarded within corporations that work with the government. The government is made up of men.

  5. Natalie@fit.fun.femme.

    Could not agree more. Beautiful post. Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mom and Dems are lucky to have you canvassing!!! Go Terry!

  6. Reblogged this on Somali Womanhood and commented:
    True that. That is precisely why I founded the Diaspora Women’s Platform. This is a non-profit Think Tank that is for and by Diaspora women living in Finland. There are hundreds of non-profit associations ran by men for women. Yet the irony is that these men have totally excluded women from their boards. Thus denying them the right to take an active role in pursuing matters pertinent to their well-being.

  7. Completely agree and the urge to run for office has gotten even stronger in me. I just had a visual of campaign site where the about section says something like unapologetic progressive, feminist, woman of color working to take down patriarchy and racist structures one day at a time. Anyone have a recommendation for a tool kit or training program that gives guidance for how to run for office?

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