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Cassie Hoag, past president, NAWBO OC  

Click here to read full bio.

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Truly Remarkable Women
Of women and politics...
On the heels of the political conventions, I’ve had several media calls asking for NAWBO’s position on the candidates.  “NAWBO” is the National Association of Women Business Owners and as president of the Orange County Chapter, I’m the logical call to make.  I’ve appropriately demurred, as we’re a non-partisan organization that gets solidly behind policy, not candidates.  But I appreciate why the media is circling.  For the first time in history, our country has offered up viable female candidates for both of the top offices.  

Beyond the media inquiries, I’ve been surprised by the number of my acquaintances who, through the course of the primaries and now in the run-up to the election, have expressed breathless admiration for our female candidates.  The exuberance is understandable; I, too, am enthralled by this political season.  What puzzles me is that knowing the beliefs and values of some of these women, the candidates that they’re fawning over simply don’t fit. So, we’ve got a case of gender trumping issues. And that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s kind of like choosing a candidate because they look good.

Women in politics is indeed cause for celebration. More than any other industry, the proverbial glass ceiling is (almost) shattered in our local, state and federal governments. Regardless of personal beliefs, all women should be proud that we have a female Speaker of the House, a female Secretary of State and a growing number of female senators, governors and congressional representatives. All of those women fought hard for their positions and earned them as champions of the rights and initiatives closest to the voting public’s heart. So, why overlook those rights and initiatives when advocating a presidential ticket? Is this an exception, where we choose the woman at any cost, no matter what she stands for?  In my mind, that’s a shallow mindset, and if widely held, subject to a dangerous backlash in a field where so much has been accomplished, and where the stakes are incredibly high.

I implore all women to take the high road, familiarize themselves with the candidates’ positions, and place their advocacy and their vote solidly behind whoever best represents their personal beliefs – relative to human rights, the war in Iraq, economic policy, gun control, healthcare, education, and all issues impacting women and families.  Indisputably, that’s the best way to sustain progress toward gender equality.  

Is America ready for a president of either gender and any ethnicity or faith?  I hope so.  In any case, let’s vote for the candidates who will assure this circumstance in the next, and all future elections.