By TAMARA OMER
After the Democratic debate that aired on March 15, former Vice President Joe Biden was given credit for saying he would nominate a woman as his vice president; however, personally, it raised a little skepticism. I agree that female representation in office is crucial and important because it could provide influence in policymaking. However, what is even more important is having a woman in the position that supports the strengthening of policies that could benefit the people of America, more importantly women. The power of being a woman in office goes past simply being a woman.
In a CNN interview last year conducted by Chris Cuomo, Biden was asked if he “would not consider having a woman as a VP?” Biden’s response was: “I would — look, here’s the first thing about being a VP… I’ve learned that in today’s environment there’s so much a president has on his or her plate, they need someone they completely trust, that they’re simpatico with, have the same approach, political approach and you can delegate significant authority to.”
While I agree there needs to be a bond and similarity in approaches to politics between the president and vice president, the most important question I asked myself while watching this interview was; are all the approaches that Biden wants necessarily progressive for all women nationwide? It is arguable that Biden has done some acts to help with the progression of women in this country such as introducing the Violence Against Women act in 1990. Although according to the Times, Biden also has a previous history of supporting the Hyde amendment, which cut federal spending for abortion. With this in mind, there needs to be effectiveness in these areas from the VP that Biden picks, rather than someone who is a continuation of the status quo.
Furthermore, if someone wants to give a woman a position in power it would likely mean that they recognize the strength in women’s ability and power, and that recognition would reflect in what policies she would support as well, policies that bring women into advantage and empowerment rather than put them at a disadvantage. The many overdue needs we are still facing in this country, regarding policies that would benefit women, need to be fought for more.
For example, the gender wage gap between women and men is still a consistent issue we are facing. According to payscale, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes eighty-one cents. In 2020, men earn a median salary that is 19 percent higher than women’s median salary.
Another issue is that there is a large population of women who are uninsured in this country. According to a 2018 study conducted by KFF, it is estimated that 10 million women nationally are uninsured, and while 19 percent of them were eligible for Medicaid, 11 percent fell into the Medicaid coverage gap. Thirty-three percent of those 10 million women were ineligible for assistance due to income or immigration status. This leaves women to worry about medical needs and the cost of health-related expenses. There needs to be a more inclusive healthcare system, for example, universal healthcare that would ensure all women are able to afford to care for their health.
An even more alarming issue that still affects women in America today is that according to the ERA, only 38 states in the U.S right now have passed the equal rights amendment, with Virginia becoming the 38th state to do so this year. We need someone that pushes for national implementation of the equal rights amendment in order for us to progress in women’s rights. Having a woman in the office that focuses on fighting to solve issues like these would be a major milestone for the country.
What Biden needs to look for in a female VP, is someone that stands for the women in America, and someone that does not allow for the continued limitation of women’s freedom and rights. Biden needs a female VP that recognizes we need real change for women in this country, and we need a woman to help lead that change; it would be her most crucial role in the office. A female VP may attract many voters’ interests in their hopes for what change she will instill in their lives. The mention of a female vice president could seem progressive, but the progression is proven through what she supports, and what ideas she introduces for the future of the country.