AUSTIN, Texas - With only one more week left of early voting, Election Day is right around the corner, and one key group of voters candidates on the ballot are hoping to sway is women.
“Women have always been integral in the political process. Definitely women and seeking out women's vote has been very popular in the last couple of decades, let alone the last couple of years. Because it was just a hard block to ignore, we are half of the country,” says Maria Medina Milner with the League Of Women Voters in Austin.
Milner says candidates are noticing the common trend of more women turning up at the polls than men. According to the Pew Research Center, eligible women voters have had a slightly higher turnout rate than men for the past 40 years. In 2016, 63% of women cast a ballot while only 59% of men did.
“Early on in the country's founding, women were responsible for the role of kind of creating that understanding of democracy. It was called republican motherhood and this was well before women had the right to vote,” said Milner.
A mural at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Congress Ave called “The Beauty of Liberty and Equality” hopes to empower women to vote. “I hope that they recognize their empowered role of knowing that one vote can make a difference in the community,” said Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation executive director Molly Alexander.
Alexander says this mural was completed right before the pandemic hit. “The theme around our project called writing on the walls was around the ratification of the 19th Amendment, celebrating 100 years of a woman's right to vote,” she said.
The mural was created in hopes of empowering women, a group that has become an important piece in the election process since receiving the right to vote in 1920, to vote.
“Women have been an integral part of government participation of active participation with the creation of public policy since the beginning of the founding of this country. When you ignore half of the country, and that half of the country starts becoming more involved, becoming more engaged, becoming more active,” said Milner.