The news media is proclaiming the story: Women will decide the 2012 election. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is OK with that. In fact, we feel great about it. This election is packed with issues that have a huge impact on women, and AAUW has the tools to educate voters on where the candidates stand.
The AAUW Action Fund just released our VoteHER Toolkit, an essential guide to how candidates and elected officials stack up on issues that are important to women and their families. The VoteHER Toolkit includes three valuable resources: the annually released Congressional Voting Record, voter guides featuring head-to-head comparisons of the candidates in the presidential and key Senate races, and an analysis of the Obama administration's performance in its first term. By providing these fundamental resources, AAUW capitalizes on the power of women's voices this election and continues to make women's issues front and center. We are providing key information to a critically important voting bloc and adding even more fuel to the national debate.
The AAUW Action Fund has also made critical investments to register, educate and mobilize young women through our It's My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. This nationwide effort boasts more than $1 million raised and coalition partners like Campus Vote Project, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Business and Professional Women's Foundation, Fair Elections Legal Network, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Organization for Women and Young Invincibles. Our effort includes 15 on the ground organizers in key states, targeted advertising and social media efforts as well as phone banking, canvassing and special mailings. Through voter registration drives and issue and candidate forums, this campaign has reached out to millennial women -- ages 18 to 31 -- with the message that they must be informed and they must vote. Why?
Women need to get to the polls in record numbers this year. It's that simple. Many of the issues that matter most to us hang in the balance. The millennial generation holds the unique position of being as numerous as the baby boomers with one key difference: Young women have yet to form consistent voting habits. I have to believe (please prove me right!) that young women will come to the polls when they learn that politicians are making decisions on issues like college affordability, jobs, the gender pay gap and access to birth control. As Sandra Fluke told AAUW recently, "Young women are really mobilized by hearing not slogans but the records of candidates on issues affecting young women."
Women also need to remember that the election is only the first step. If women are powerful enough to determine the outcome of the election -- and we know that we are -- then we must use that power to hold all legislators accountable to the promises they've made this election year. We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by.
That's where the AAUW Action Fund campaign and our VoteHER Toolkit come in. And this is the time when we ask women -- not just millennial women, but all women and the men who care about them -- to approach the 2012 election armed with these resources and powerful tools of their own: their votes. Ultimately, it's your vote. And if you use it, you will be heard.