10/24/2012 10:39 am ET

It's Time To Retire The Term 'Women's Issues'

A slew of news reports are casting Mitt Romney's performance in Monday's foreign policy debate as an effort to win women voters. Foreign policy isn't traditionally thought of as a women's issue, but that reveals a problem with "women's issues" in general: they don't really exist.

Everything traditionally identified as a women's issue affects people besides women, and you can find women who care passionately about pretty much every issue. This doesn't mean pundits and journalists shouldn't be talking about how contraceptive coverage, or healthcare, or the economy, or (yes) foreign policy can affect women disproportionately. It does mean people who talk about campaigns — and politics more generally — need to stop creating a special category called "women's issues" which we then take less seriously. If women are really going to decide this election, then it's time to recognize that their "issues" aren't a sideshow.

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