More women than men will likely cast their ballots this Election Day. But that wasn't always the case. Our Katie Gibas tells us about the evolution of women voting and how that's shaped this year's election campaigns.
UNITED STATES -- Women voters have become a force to be reckoned with. Throughout this election season, women's rights have come to the forefront of many candidates’ campaigns.
"There's certainly been a lot of discussion at the national level this year about the so-called Republican war on women and about women's issues and certainly the Democrats are trying to mobilize women voters on the grounds that Republicans are trying to take some of their rights away," said Kristi Andersen, Maxwell School Political Science Professor.
But women's issues haven't always been a hot topic on Election Day, even in the years following the ratification of the 19th Amendment in1920. Despite women winning the 72 year battle for the right to vote, there wasn't a rush to the polls.
Andersen said, "There were a lot of women who were opposed to women getting the right to vote and remained opposed."
Plus, gender roles at the time discouraged women from casting a ballot.
"Even the ones who really wanted the vote, they hadn't been involved in politics. Voting is a habit,” said Andersen. “There are people who vote in every election no matter what. Well, these women had never had the right to vote, they hadn't voted. So it took them a while to habituate themselves to voting."
For years, men out-voted women. It wasn't until 1968 that women began to vote at the same rate as men. Now, women voters turn out to the polls more than their male counterparts.
Andersen said, "Education is a huge correlate. So if you find people who are more educated, they're more likely to vote. One of the things that's happened in recent years is that women are graduating from high school and college at a higher rate than men."
In 2008, ten million more women voted than men and that's changed party politics.
"I think it has in a sense allowed reproductive rights and abortion and to some sense, same-sex marriage, which women are more supportive of than men in general, to become division lines between the Republican and Democratic party," Andersen said.
But Andersen warns women can't be treated as one voting body, because like men, their views range the entire spectrum