Think About It: Gender Mender - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

August 20, 2018

Think About It: Gender Mender

What do Patsy Mink, Eileen Anderson, Linda Lingle, Mazie Hirono, and Tulsi Gabbard all have in common? They are powerful women who have won major political races in Hawaii, sometimes against great odds and every time against at least one male counterpart. And some of them did it years ago, when the gender issue was a much greater factor than it is today. So when people start to blame sexism as the reason that certain high profile women were not elected on the Democratic side in the recent primary election here, you have to wonder if it's rooted in facts, or just an excuse.

 

There is no question that we have some unfortunate, antiquated and entrenched belief systems and stereotypes which come into play when people step into the voting booth locally. And since our voting numbers are woefully inadequate and show a severe lack of civic engagement, the goal for any challenger would seem to be to get new people into the voting booth, or the same old voters will elect (often) the same old incumbents or well- known politicians, regardless of their actual merits.

 

But let's not make every loss about perceived slights or unfairness. How about the idea that some people ran a better campaign? How about the concept that some people simply didn't provide compelling enough differences between themselves and their competition? How about the fact that a hard-working, female community activist beat a well-known and well-liked, incumbent male senator? So let's not oversimplify election results and play the victim role. It does a disservice to past winners. Work harder and smarter, and get the right advisors around you early on. It's been done before, and it can and will be done again here, thank goodness. Think about it…

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