Opinion

AT RANDOM: Women step forward

Phew.” That was the consensus on most of the Facebook statuses I saw on Wednesday morning.

They were, of course, referring to the re-election of Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential election. A collective sigh could be heard across this country — although I’m sure there were a few grunts too.

Truth be told, if you were to do a survey on most of the people friended on my Facebook (including many members of my American family,) they tend to state their political views as left leaning or moderate.

A lot of them also denounce the use of GMO foods. Almost all them wish our PM Stephen Harper would consult with the Canadian people before making trade deals with China. And, I’d say 95 per cent of them would like Enbridge to stick its oil pipeline, well, where the sun don’t shine.

This is only, at last count, 331 people’s views. But they are a synopsis that is wide and spread across this country.

Another interesting thing is that although many of my friends are of the male variety, the most politically outspoken have the XX chromosome. And that seems to be the trend.

If you dared to look south of the border on election night, you would have seen many modern-day suffragettes out in full charge.

The result. Obama’s victory was due in large part to female voters, as well as visible minorities and young people.

And he showed his appreciation to many of those people when he declared in his victory speech: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”

OK, he left women out of that list, but you gotta give the guy credit, he really knows who his audience is.

The gender gap was also felt between the two candidates: According to news reports, non-married women backed Obama by a 38 percentage-point margin over Mitt Romney. Many attribute this to some Republicans’ stance on reproductive rights for women.

Not only did women vote in record numbers, a record number of them were also voted into congress, serving in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

When you look at the numbers, they may not seem all that even: There are now 20 females in the 100-member senate. But if you look at 90 years ago, when the first female appointed to the senate, Rebecca Latimer Felton, only served for one day, and advance that to the past three years, where 17 women were elected and served concurrently in the senate for the first time, there’s been huge progress.

Of interest is of the 20 women senators either re-elected or newly elected this past week, 15 of them are Democratic and five are Republican. (Unlike those useless machines in Florida, I actually counted them.)

And now that America has been counted for, I think Canadian female politicians  are just as willing to stand up and run.

According to a somewhat reliable source (OK, Wikipedia), as of 2010, Canada ranked 50th in the world for women’s participation in politics. Women held 23 per cent of the seats in federal, provincial and territorial legislatures.

Since the 1921 election of Canada’s first MP, Agnes MacPhail, there are now 76 women serving in the House of Commons. This represents a gain of seven seats over the previous record of 69 women in the last parliament.

There are also currently 10 women serving as leaders of political parties at the provincial legislative level, including right here in B.C. with our premier, Christy Clark.

Enough statistics. The numbers don’t lie.

It won’t be long before you see a female prime minister or president. And won’t that make for an interesting status report on Facebook?

Kristin Froneman is the entertainment editor for The Morning Star

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