What Does Obama's Re-Election Mean for Women?

Jessica Clark, center, reacts after watching election results in Times Square in New York City on Nov. 6, 2012. …Minutes after polls on the West Coast had closed Tuesday night -- and even before votes in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia had been counted -- news outlets declared President Barack Obama the winner of the 2012 election.

Related: Did Women Help Obama Win the Election?

"Today we congratulate President Obama on his re-election," Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, the executive director and co-founder of MomsRising, said in a statement. "We're ready to move forward with him to ensure that we close the gender wage gap, to see health care reform fully implemented so that all our families get the health care they need, and to secure earned sick days for all workers."

Related: Election Night Style: Michelle Obama vs. Ann Romney

In Boston, Mitt Romney supporters were subdued as they handed out American flags and waited for their candidate to appear on stage. Once he did, he was sure to thank his supporters, his running mate Paul Ryan, his sons, and his wife, Ann, whom he called "the love of my life."

"She would have been a wonderful first lady," Romney said in his concession speech. "She has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care."

Women were the coveted demographic during this campaign season, which set new records for advertisement spending and animosity levels. Insensitive comments about "legitimate rape" may have cost Republican Congressman Todd Akin the Senate race in Missouri, and in Indiana, Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly beat State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party-backed candidate who said during a recent debate that pregnancy from rape "is something God intended to happen." Though women from both political parties were quick to point out that women care about more than just reproductive rights.

"I think that women are half this country, and we are more than half of the voters in this country," Fluke told Yahoo! Shine in an interview in August. "Every election should be addressing the issues that are important to us."

"Why are men discussing this? That would be my question," Mary Anne Carter, policy director at YG Network, a conservative-leaning non-profit group, asked Reuters. "At the end of the day, this election is about the economy."

So, how will Obama's re-election effect women and families?

  • With Democrats on track to hold the Senate, the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- is likely to be fully implemented, allowing adult children to remain on their parents' health insurance plans until they are 26 years old, making domestic violence counseling and breast feeding support available to more women, and covering well-visits and prescription contraceptives with no out-of-pocket costs for patients.
  • With Republicans keeping control of the House of Representatives, it's unlikely that Obama will be able to make good on his promises to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers and train 2 million Americans by helping them get to college.
  • If a Supreme Court justice retires in the next four years, it's likely that his or her replacement will support Roe v. Wade.
  • Paid parental leave is still a political non-starter, but ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work will continue to be a priority.


How did you feel about the election results? Watch the candidates' final speeches and discuss in the comments, below.