By Irene Lew
Saturday, November 18, 2006
U.S. women were a deciding factor in determining the outcome of the 2006 midterm elections, according to results from two polls released Nov. 17, and helped bring record numbers of women to the U.S. House, the Senate and state legislatures around the nation.
"Women's votes led the way for change," said Eleanor Smeal, publisher of Ms. magazine, during a press conference to announce the findings. "There was a five-point gender gap and in close races this was the deciding margin. Without the women's vote, the balance of power would not have shifted."
Smeal noted the gender gap revealed in the Virginia Senate race, which determined the Democratic takeover of the Senate. In that race, 45 percent of men voted for Democrat James Webb but 55 percent of women voted for him and closed the race. Women's votes also determined results in the Missouri and Montana Senate races. In addition, the House will gain 22 new pro-choice members when it convenes.
Women are perceived to be more trustworthy and ethical as candidates, a key factor in influencing the takeover of Congress after Republicans faced a series of scandals in the past year. And for the first time, a majority of adults said a woman will be elected president by 2016. Female candidates also increase voter turnout; about one-third of respondents said they were more likely to vote in an election if a woman was a candidate.
"I believe women are going to be the dominant force in politics over the next decade," said Stacy Morrison, editor in chief of Redbook magazine. "More participation is a result of having more female candidates."
One poll, conducted by Lake Research and commissioned by Ms. magazine and the Women Donors Network, surveyed 1,000 likely voters to coincide with the election. The second poll, commissioned by Lifetime Television and Redbook magazine, surveyed 1,031 adults after the election.
"It is a historic bill because it will give rights to women and help end excesses against them," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told Parliament after the vote.
Women's eNews Spotlight on 2006 Midterm Election Races:
"Dangerous Trends, Innovative Responses":
"Fashion World Says Too Thin Is Too Hazardous":
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Former football star O.J. Simpson will appear on Fox News to discuss his new book titled "If I Did It," in which he reveals how he might have murdered his ex-wife and her friend if he were guilty. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman but was later found liable for their deaths in a civil court and ordered to pay over $33 million to their families.
"Disgust and revulsion are the only possible reactions to the news," Esta Soler, president of the San Francisco-based Family Violence Prevention Fund, said in a press statement. "Two families suffered an unimaginable loss 12 years ago, and two children lost their mother. Now those children will see their father discuss or recreate the crime for entertainment and profit. It is beneath contempt."
Book publisher Judith Regan told the Associated Press she considers the book to be Simpson's "confession." Fox News has scheduled the interview to broadcast on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29; the book goes on sale Nov. 30. Announcing the interview, Fox said that Simpson describes "how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade."
Brazilian fashion model Ana Carolina Reston--who worked for top New York modeling agencies Ford, Elite and L'Equipe--died from anorexia nervosa, the New York Post reported Nov. 16. The 21-year-old had been hospitalized in Sao Paulo since Oct. 25 and friends reported that she only ate apples and tomatoes in recent months. At the time of her death, the 5-foot-7-inch Reston weighed 88 pounds.
Irene Lew is editorial intern at Women's eNews.
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