5 Reasons Why Your Vote Matters in 2020
The 2020 Election will no doubt be contentious, and if we're not careful, women and girls suffering from poverty and inequality right now will be left out of the spotlight. Your voice matters as we engage with candidates on the campaign trail and get out the vote. Creating change for a better world — from ending global poverty to empowering women and girls to live a life free from violence — starts with U.S. leaders who will champion global issues. Yet global poverty and international women’s rights are often missing from the conversation during elections. Now is the time to speak up. Candidates and members of Congress will listen to voters, and we know that even a few voices can make a big difference.
So, why does your voice and your vote matter leading up to November? Read on to find out, and how you can get engaged today to start shaping candidate’s views on these important issues.
1) The world faces the worst humanitarian crises we’ve seen since World War II, yet U.S. foreign assistance often remains a low priority for legislators.
Foreign assistance comprises roughly one percent of the federal budget, yet delivers innumerable benefits both here in the U.S. and around the world. Foreign aid saves countless lives and makes our world safer for all. The Trump administration’s proposed FY20 budget would gut critical U.S. foreign assistance funding at a time when parts of the world need it most. Cuts to foreign assistance could leave 30 million people without lifesaving food assistance, to give just one example of the impact of the proposed cuts. Thankfully, these cuts will only become reality if Congress agrees to them, which is why we need congressional candidates from both sides of the aisle standing up for a robust international affairs budget.
2) Women nationwide are speaking out against sexual assault and harassment, but violence against women and girls, especially in emergencies, is a global issue that demands international attention.
An estimated one in three women globally will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime, which can include domestic violence, rape and child marriage. Rates of violence are even higher in humanitarian emergencies when women and girls are exposed to unsafe conditions and few resources. Our leaders have the tools to end this violence in crises by supporting and passing legislation like the Safe from the Start Act, which would address the needs of women and girls facing violence in emergencies. Candidates need to know that voters across the country support this kind of legislation and are looking for leaders who will take a stand for women and girls everywhere.
3) Globally, 1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty — and most of them are women and girls.
CARE knows that at its root, poverty is caused by the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunities for women and girls, especially in places where women can’t work, go to school, access health care or make their own decisions. The record number of U.S. female candidates who ran and won in the 2018 midterm elections means women’s voices are intensifying, and we need 2020 candidates to know that voters want to see them use their voice to speak up for policies that ensure women worldwide get the protection — and opportunities — they deserve.
4) Every 90 seconds, a woman dies from a pregnancy-related complication. Most of these deaths are preventable, yet U.S. support for maternal and child health has come to a halt.
The Trump administration has cut off all funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which works alongside CARE to provide life-saving health care to women and families globally, including voluntary family planning and safe delivery services. Moves like this underscore the need for elected officials who will support healthy moms and healthy societies. Raising these critical issues on the campaign trail can help ensure that new Members of Congress come to Washington ready to defend critical maternal health programs.
5) Hunger and malnutrition is on the rise as conflict around the world increases and countries face famine-like conditions.
More than 820 million people globally don’t have enough food to eat. Natural disasters, like prolonged drought, destroy crops while violent conflict often forces people to flee their homes and livelihoods to areas where food is scarce. Women are key to ending global hunger, but only if we give them equal rights and access to land, crops, and decision-making. And, by reforming U.S. food aid, we can feed millions more people a year at no extra cost. Lawmakers have the power to advocate for small changes to food aid and women's empowerment that saves lives and ends global hunger, and we need to make sure they know that voters are paying attention.
Elections matter. When you engage with candidates on the issues and amplify your own voice, you send a powerful message that we are passionate about ending global poverty and creating a more prosperous world. Follow CARE on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our 2020 election work, and register to join a CARE Election Training here.