The days are ticking away to Election Day and Wisconsin is in its early voting period. Congresswoman Gwen Moore visited campus Friday to address women’s issues in the upcoming election and urge students to vote early.
“I’m not here to campaign for anyone except you, as women, my sisters,” she said.
Moore covered a number of topics that concern women, including health care, education, the pay gap, abortion rights, access to birth control and the small number of women in politics.
Women currently hold 90 seats in Congress, or 16.8 percent.
In terms of education, “women use Pell Grants in numbers disproportionate to men,” she said.
That gender breakdown is about 60 percent women and 40 percent men who receive Pell Grants, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Paul Ryan’s proposed budget would cut Pell Grants by $170 billion.
Moore authored the Violence Against Women Act last year that did not pass, she said, “because there were too many people, primarily men, who didn’t want to include protections for women on campuses who experience date violence, for Native Americans who live on reservations, for lesbian women who are battered by their partners and for women who are immigrants.”
There is an average of 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault each year, according to a study done by U.S. Department of Justice.
The same study and others, including studies by the FBI and the National Center for Policy Analysis, estimate that 46 out of every 100 rapes get reported to the police. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 3 percent of rapists serve a day or more in prison.
46 out of every 100 rapes get reported to the police.
“They have minimized the pain and the agony of rape,” Moore said, referring to recent well-publicized comments of male politicians on the subject of rape.
The Congresswoman also emphasized early voting, urging students to vote right after the event.
“I really am very proud to be representing this campus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and I’m so happy that early vote has already started and to let everybody know they can vote today, and they don’t need an I.D. to vote,” she said.
In March two separate judges issued injunctions that prevent enforcement of photo I.D. requirements. The cases are currently in the Court of Appeals.
“Women, you better take charge of this election,” Moore said. “Your pay check is on the line. Your retirement health care is on the line, your dignity as a women is on the line, your life is on the line.”
Austin Berube said he thought the speakers were inspiring the district that includes Milwaukee and sprawls out to include parts of some Milwaukee suburbs.
“My only job is to get you all to commit to vote,” said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “Go to class, and then what are you going to do? Vote.”
Advocates for Choice at UWM and the Women’s Resource Center co-sponsored the event.
Natalia Koss Vallejo is an officer of Advocates for Choice at UWM. She is a women’s studies major, and thinks that this election has more at stake concerning women than elections in the past.
“We thought it was important to get the message out that women need to vote in this election,” she said, “especially because of the comments that you’re seeing across the country right now.”