During a conversation about birth control and abortion, a female Republican friend once told me: "If men had babies, you could have an abortion by drinking tap water."
That might be an exaggeration, not to mention medically impossible, but I got her point. In the halls of government, men generally control laws governing women's health and economic and social status. Things might be different for women if they didn't.
In this year's Women's Issue (CityBeat's 13th annual) we explore the timely theme of "Women and Politics," starting with Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the legacy she'll leave for other women seeking elective office locally, including Congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin. We also look at women's and girl's health issues, talk to women who use art to make a statement about the world, learn about the next generation of leaders and more.
While I don't have anything against men in particular — I even live with one — it's just not right that in a country as comparatively free and open as ours so few women make the big decisions in guiding our country and our local communities. But things are slowly changing with more female governors, senators and congresswomen than ever.
All women don't think alike, of course, and some might not think like you or me on every issue. Still, we're far from a 50-50 power sharing government, where women can at least have an equal say in making public policy.
So why is that important?
Though we like to think everyone has an equal shot at "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the truth is that government sets the stage for winners and losers all the time. Whether that's by legislating whom we can marry, whether or not abortion is legal, who pays what taxes (and who gets out of paying taxes) or what insurance should or shouldn't cover — example: no on birth control, yes on Viagra — our lives are touched by government every day.
I hope this section encourages you, male or female, to pay more attention to what your elected leaders are doing and to get involved in government. Join a local political club, donate to a candidate, volunteer for a campaign or run for office yourself. A great place to get nonpartisan voter information is at the League of Women Voters of Ohio Web site: www.lwvohio.org.
And, for God's sake, vote on Nov. 4.