Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

March 10, 2013

Right to vote

Female voters in West Virginia showcase women's rights

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BLUEFIELD — lll

On March 5 and 6, the West Virginia Women’s Commission held Women’s Day at the Legislature. The two-day event encouraged women to become involved in their communities.

“I know what it’s like to balance work life with home life and as any woman will tell you, it’s not easy sometimes,” Tennant said. “I know a lot of times we focus on our families or our jobs, but I urge women to stay involved in what happens in their communities. Stay informed on the issue. Make sure you know who is running for office and vote for the person that best reflects your beliefs and values. Or you could run for office. Too many women are intimidated from throwing their hat in the ring when they can offer a unique perspective to the issues that we face.”

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In recent elections, women have become the tipping point in many close races. Early women’s suffrage leaders would be proud. But why do women in the region vote? For Vonda Wilson, of Bluefield, the answer is simple.

“Women’s rights,” she said.

Erica Morgan, of Princeton, said the shift in the number of females voting can be attributed to jobs.

“You have more women out in the work force, whereas back in the ’50s it was mainly the men that ‘brought home the bacon.’ I think, too, women see more whole picture where men just see the bottom line,” Morgan said.

Princeton resident Rebecca Botts, the mother of three, said she votes because decisions affect future generations. She believes it is why other women head to the polls.

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It has been a tough road since the first women’s suffrage movement; women have come a long way. In the 2008 election, 60.4 percent of the female population over the age of 18 showed up at the polls. Men? Just under 56 percent. In other words, 10 million more women than men voted.

In 2012, women showed up at the polls again. But this time, they also voted for their gender. There is currently a record number of females in the U.S. Senate. Another interesting twist on women in politics? The U.S. has its first all-female delegation — senators, House members and a governor — in New Hampshire.

Tennant wants West Virginian women to vote and create even more changes in the state.

On her website, she states, “ Generations of women worked tirelessly to gain suffrage. This is by far one of the most important amendments to the Constitution when it comes to voting, because it gave the right to vote to half of the population of the United States.  If you are a female ... you  have/will have the right to vote because a battle was fought for you in history.”

 

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