The Generational Divide Among Female Voters


I don’t usually write about politics on this blog (or in general!) but I thought I’d give it a shot. Here goes:

One would think all women would unequivocally support the first female candidate with a real shot at the White House. This is what we’ve been fighting for for decades, is it not? The problem is, some of us have been fighting for it longer and harder than others.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist College Poll in New Hampshire, “Some 64% of women Democratic voters younger than 45 backed Bernie Sanders, while just 35% supported Clinton…When it comes to women 45 and older, Clinton leads Sanders by 9 percentage points.”

While any woman with half a brain knows sexism is not dead, the older generation feels it more severely than the younger. As a 20 year old college student, I have not yet had my first ‘real’ job, and have therefore only heard stories about the pay gap, lack of female leadership or subpar maternity benefits in the workplace. I have not experienced these things first hand.

Women in the generations above mine, however, have been working for years in environments that support men’s dreams above their own. They’ve been waiting an eternity and they are fed up. They want to see a female in the White House during their lifetime, and are not willing to wait another four to eight years.

That sense of urgency is missing among my peers, who may no longer see feminism as a burning issue in today’s society. According to Lori Day, 52 year old psychologist and author interviewed in this CNN article, “We don’t take for granted any of the progress she [Clinton] helped create because we know that we could lose it, and if a Republican wins the White House, we will…Younger women have no collective memory of this, and they do tend to take things like birth control and legal abortion for granted, simply because these things have always existed in their lifetimes.”

However, statements like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” at a recent Clinton rally are not going over well with younger women, who refuse to vote for her based solely on gender. They argue that one’s gender is not what makes them a feminist, it is more than that.They will vote for a candidate based on policy, not anatomy.

Baby boomers and women of my mother’s generation have spent years of their lives watching Hilary break new ground for women as a first lady, senator and Secretary of State. They view her as a pioneer of sorts, and her ascension to the oval office would be the final step in that collective climb. But many women my age are supporting Bernie Sanders because on his focus on issues facing Millennials, namely college tuition, student debt and minimum wage reform. And although he is a 74 year old white male, he seems oddly more relatable than Hilary in many ways. Janis Brett Elspas, a 59 year old business owner and mother adds, “I also think Hillary’s own age may simply have less appeal and relevancy to those female voters who are much younger than she is.”

In a race that has been largely characterized by inner-party fighting and juvenile name calling, it is important to remember to support one another in our decisions. We as woman do not have to agree on which candidate is best suited for the job– that is the true beauty of democracy after all– but we can agree to work together for the greater good in any ways we can. Because at the end of the day, we all share the experience of being a women in America, and that is something far more unifying than a politician could ever be.

P.s. What did you think? And photo from here

Five Little Differences Between Germany and America

Ok, so there are obviously more than five differences between Germany and America. More like 12 million, really. If there weren’t, they’d be the same country….but I digress. Anyhow, today I thought I’d share five little things I’ve noticed recently about Germany that I certainly won’t encounter when I fly home to California in ten days. (TEN DAYS?! WHAT THE HECK!)
Ready? Here we go.
1. No middle names- Many German people do not have middle names. It’s just not really as much of a thing. Some definitely do, but none of the kids I’m Au Pairing have one! Simpler, don’t you think?
2. No air conditioning or fans- Oh man, this one is a real toughie for us Americans. Coming from Southern California, my home doesn’t have air conditioning either, but the temperature is always mild and we have lots of fans for those days it peaks above 75! Here, hardly any homes or public spaces have air conditioning even though it can get really hot, and many don’t have fans. I asked why that was, and they said they believe it messes with your sinuses and gives you a stiff neck.
3. Lunch is the largest meal of the day- I totally love this custom. Germans usually eat a smaller breakfast, a big fancy lunch, and then a small ‘snack’ in the evening called Abendbrot, consisting mainly of bread with various toppings. I really like gathering in the middle of the day and having more time to digest before bed.
4. Kaffee und Kuchen- Coffee and cake is an afternoon tradition in German life. Not every day, but many days they take a break from their work and sit around to enjoy a little sweetness! This is especially big on Sunday afternoons.
5. The wedding Ring is worn on the right hand- When I first arrived, I thought no one was married, because I didn’t see any rings on the left hand. Finally someone cleared up the mystery: They wear it on their right ring finger!

Question of the Day
Can you think of a few little cultural customs that set your country apart? I’d love to hear.