By JAMES LUPIA
The run-up to the election saw massive get-out-the-vote efforts by the candidates, who bombarded the public with phone calls, advertisements, emails and text messages vying for support. Most of these solicitations related to economic, including issues related to women, were given less attention.
The Feminists United on Campus (FUC) sought to change this, and led an effort to educate voters on the importance of women’s rights outside Lee Hall on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The FUC passed out flyers and spoke with students about issues regarding equality.
The goals of FUC are to inform students of what feminism is and to promote equality, both on and off campus.
Paige McKinsey, publicity chair for FUC, said that feminism is not about placing women above men, but about making them equal.
“Anyone who believes in equality would be a feminist,” said McKinsey.
FUC seeks to empower women and supports such issues as equal pay for equal work, promotes non-violence and supports women’s reproductive rights.
“Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides healthcare to women cheaply and affordably, and educates women,” said McKinsey. “It would be a travesty to lose them; they save lives all the time.”
Claire Pickard, a senior ,a member of Students for a Democratic Society, protested last year in Richmond against the “trap laws” set in place by Virginia Republicans to close Planned Parenthood by regulating them as hospitals rather than clinics.
“Abortion is a very small percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” said Pickard.
Planned Parenthood also provides health care, cancer screenings and contraception for low-income Americans.
“It’s even more important to have Planned Parenthood if Romney is in office,” said Pickard.
Women’s health became a subject of fierce debate during the election, drawing attention due to recent controversial comments regarding rape made by Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.
“I think there is a lot of insensitive talk about rape that is not accurate,” said McKinsey.
Akin and Mourdock’s comments are “disappointing, but not shocking,” according to Pickard.
“It’s laughable; it shows a lack of understanding of basic middle school anatomy,” said Pickard.
The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), an organization dedicated to women’s issues with an office in Arlington, Va., helped FUC raise awareness on campus in order to get students informed on the issues at stake in the election.
Samantha Horsell, an intern at the FMF, said, “Our primary mission is to get out her vote on Tuesday.”
“I would hope women would not vote against their own equality,” said Pickard. “The election is not important.”
Pickard said she voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
McKinsey stressed the importance of voting, while pointing out that FUC is a non-partisan group focused on gender equality.
“Women’s issues should be discussed more,” said McKinsey.
Pickard however argues her belief that the election is not important.
“With the current system, no significant egalitarian change will be effective. It will take a massive change to bring about any real equality for women,” said Pickard.
Junior psychology major Melissa Peters thinks women’s rights were not handled well in this election.
“Abortion hurts women, and unrestricted access to it is not helping them,” said Peters. “Our efforts should be in providing services, resources, options and support for women in an unplanned pregnancy.”