Friday, August 3, 2007

I am a woman, and my vote will be heard.

Every election cycle, candidates are always trying to woo an new demographic group: soccer moms, young people, married professionals, etc. This year, it seems as though candidates are vying for the votes of one oft-overlooked group: single woman. This group may prove to swing in favor of the Democrats, if the cards are played correctly.

According to this article, single women make up a larger swing constituency than African Americans and Latinos combined. Sadly, this group is also one of the largest NOT to vote as well. Comprised of all kinds of single women, the article notes that, "Many unmarried women simply haven’t found the right kind of men. Thousands of single mothers are unmarried because the men in their lives refuse to commit. Unmarried women may be divorcees or widows. And let’s not forget lesbians who are unmarried because the law forbids their union."

What's annoying about lumping all single women into the same category is that pollsters and consultants are saying that ALL single women have the same values and beliefs. I find that hard to believe. I seriously doubt that I feel the same way about the future and who should be the next President as the new college freshman pledging sororities do.

Even among my single female friends are there differing opinions on many issues like immigration reform, abortion, even the war in Iraq. Lumping us all into one category will not tell you what we care about. You will not be able to woo us very well by sending us all the same message.

The article also highlights that, by singling single women out (no pun intended), we are focusing on their marital status and the fact that without men, we are somehow incomplete people. We don't do that with men.

The stigma of being an unmarried woman past 30 is much greater than an unmarried man past 30. In fact, if a woman is not married by the time they are 30, people assume something is wrong with her. However, if a man is not married by the time he is 30, people see that as something to aspire to. But what are candidates doing to court the single man vote? Especially when the unregistered number of single men is equal to that of single women as the article points out.

Like the author, I too get queried about my singleness by family, friends and total strangers sometimes. (The fact I have a kid also elicits whispers and cautious glances).

Being single does not define who I am. It has made me into the person I am today but I do not make decisions based on the fact I am single.