What was more noteworthy about Hillary’s response was the fact that she discussed further that beyond being a women’s issue, beyond being an economic issue, it is a human issue. When a woman is being paid less, not only are her retirement prospects down the line more grim, but that also impacts her family. It impacts whether she can afford out-of-pocket medical expenses, and thus her health and welfare. It impacts the financial security of her family. Consider a single, working mother. I was raised by such a person. If she is underpaid for her work, this impacts the neighborhood in which they can afford to live, and in turn likely the quality of the school to which she can send her child, with education quality highly correlated with ability to go on to higher education and to be economically secure. And when the issue of pay equity is hitting on equal rights, education, health care, and economic security, it is no longer a “women’s issue,” but rather speaking to the bread and butter of the Democratic Party platform.
For obvious reasons, gender has played heavily into this election cycle. Abortion has been under attack across the nation and pay equity has been discussed frequently, but many issues are dismissed as “women’s issues,” relegated to a niche rather than applying broadly, and many voters dismissed as supporting Clinton on the basis of her gender rather than accepting the fact that her policy proposals are well-reasoned, progressive, and achievable. After all, they couldn't possibly be voting for the candidate who was declared by the New York Times as one of the most broadly and deeply qualified candidates in modern American history. And they couldn't possibly be voting for the candidate who built her career around fighting for women, families, health care, and the economic security of the working class.
We saw this in 2008 as well. People must have been voting for President Obama because of his race. It is an easier argument to make than accepting the fact that one might actually be losing on the grounds of policy substance. But it isn’t simply inaccurate to characterize minorities as voting for Obama on the grounds of race, or women voting for Clinton on the grounds of gender. It is patently offensive, dismissing as women incapable of making reasoned political analysis as opposed to letting their anatomy decide their vote. The Democratic Party (and Sanders supporters in particular) can and should be better than that.