Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority: Women’s Issues Front and Center at DNC

Women’s issues were front and center at the Democratic National Convention as President Obama and the many women headliners underscored over and over again the reasons why this election is critically important for women. The choice on November 6 for women could not be more stark and will determine if this country continues the progress we have made on women’s rights, or if we retreat and lose the gains of more than forty years.

Women’s health, pay equity, women’s jobs, the fight for women’s equality, and reproductive choice and rights were featured in Charlotte as Democrats made a strong and compelling case on these issues. The women delegates and activists responded with loud applause and sustained enthusiasm.

Democrats were intent on responding emphatically to the Republican War on Women. We heard stirring calls for women to organize and get out and vote from a diverse group of women leaders ranging from Michele Obama, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and dozens of other female House and Senate members and candidates to Cecile Richards, Nancy Keenan, Sister Simone Campbell (Nuns on the Bus). Lilly Ledbetter and Sandra Fluke to mention just a few (see partial list of women included below). Women led in many different roles and energized the Convention from the caucuses to the main Stage. The women’s caucuses and events in Charlotte were loud, exciting, and raucous.

Too often in conventions past women’s issues were marginalized — barely a sound bite — and feminist activists had to fight to make their voices heard. The speeches, platform and track record demonstrate that our issues are front and center in the Democratic Party. This was not rhetoric like we heard in Tampa. Day after day this week we were reminded of the President’s and Democrats’ strong record on issues important to women.

Now it’s our turn. Women must do their part, organize, get out the vote and vote on November 6. We’ve come too far to go back now.