Recent news about sexual harassment and violence have lit up every bulb on the political light string. The most discussed include mainstream Democrats, like Harvey Weinstein; aggressive conservatives, like Roger Ailes; white-nationalists, like Donald Trump; and to left-liberals, like Al Franken and John Conyers.
It seems increasingly clear that gender and sexuality are separate from the left-right spectrum we usually use to understand politics. Equally clear is that the the two major parties do not fully represent those of us who are on the down sides of gender and sexual hierarchies.
Perhaps it’s time for something new. Why not a Women’s Party – or, hewing more closely to contemporary usage, a Gender Equality Party?
The idea sounds radical. But in addition to the fact that Britain has had a Women’s Equality Party since 2015, the notion also has a distinguished pedigree in the United States.
After women’s suffrage, a wing of the movement birthed a National Woman’s Party. This imperfect organization, almost all wealthy and white, tried to create an autonomous women’s political bloc. The Party’s defining initiative, starting in 1923, was for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution. Parallel to the National Woman’s Party was the League of Women Voters, which operated within the major parties but was similarly dedicated to using women’s votes to change policy.
By the 1930s, activist women had mostly been incorporated into the…