Experts debate if 2012 is the year for women

American University professor Jennifer Lawless spoke at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Tuesday on whether 2012 was politically the “Year of the Woman.”

by Emily Mongan

Various newspapers and media pundits have declared 2012 “the Year of the Woman.” With female politicians running in record numbers in congressional elections across the country, and women’s health issues playing a major part in the presidential election, it’s easy to see why.

But this isn’t the first time an election year has been dubbed “the Year of the Woman,” a term that American University professor Jennifer Lawless claims “misses the boat.”

Lawless was on the University of Minnesota campus Tuesday to take part in an event at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs titled “American Elections: Is 2012 the Year of the Woman?” During the event, Lawless argued that while there are some positive reasons why this year could be considered a “Year of the Woman,” there are an equal amount of reasons why 2012 misses the mark.

Lawless, along with University political science professor Kathryn Pearson, fielded questions from the full house at Humphrey regarding everything from trends in female political ambition, women’s reproductive health issues, and the females present at the recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

The event was part of the Humphrey School’s fall event series focusing on key issues in the 2012 election season. The next talk, titled “Making Sense of Immigration” will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 12 pm, and feature Princeton sociology and public affairs professor Doug Massey.