Editor's Note: PokerStars Women provides an arena that allows women to comfortably enter the world of poker, a game traditionally dominated and influenced by men. Through the last few decades, women have become a force in the game, but it hasn't always been easy. This series - "Women of the World" - focuses on women outside of poker who boldly step into positions conventionally reserved for men and, in doing so, help pave a path toward greater gender equality in the world.
In the biblical story, young David, armed only with a slingshot and a handful of polished rocks, takes on the giant Goliath, who has been single-handedly terrorizing David's small village. The modern day version currently playing out in the state of Texas has Wendy Davis, a slight, soft-spoken senator from Fort Worth, taking on a monolithic political party, headed by Governor Rick Perry, affectionately called Governor Good Hair. And the good hair moniker is not unfounded, but Senator Davis has some decent hair, too, and is currently more famous for her pink tennis shoes, the ones she wore during her 11-hour protest in the Texas legislature.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Aside from the challenge from the cheeky senator, this could be just another political battle like those fought in cities and countries daily around the world. But this is Texas, where everything is historically bigger, badder, and more colorful. And like so many other areas where women choose to compete in male-dominated arenas, Davis, like many female poker players I know, is playing the game on her own terms and shaking things up.
In the original bible parable, David's weapons were his slingshot and some finely polished stones. In the Texas version, Davis' weapons are her voice and her determination, which she is using to speak up for Texas women on the issue of access to health care.
Her battle has included an 11-hour filibuster that ended with a packed state house rocked by rowdy supporters (the filibuster is where the pink tennis shoes came into play since sitting, leaning, or even going to the bathroom is strictly verboten). It has also included an ongoing and very public war of words with Perry and other members of his party that rallied women not only in Texas but around the country to Stand With Texas Women as Davis has called upon them to do.
Davis is speaking up for women on a bill currently being considered in the legislature that would effectively close most health care clinics in Texas that provide reproductive services to women. This is a fight that's going on not only in Texas but in several other U.S. states currently. Davis just happens to be a focal point now, as she leads the charge in Texas on this assault against women. The crux of Davis' argument with the bill is not late-term abortions, as the governor would have voters believe, but access to services for women across the state. The governor and his supporters are saying the bill will do "what's best for women," but judging from the onslaught of demonstrators at the capital, there are a lot of women in Texas who are opposed to the idea of men deciding what's best for them.
Davis' fight against the good ol' boys network in Texas has called upon her to use her innate talents and determination to excel in an arena where women have traditionally been sidelined. Although this is changing, there is still a lot of work to be done. But when you have faith in yourself and the backbone to fight a good fight, sometimes the outcome surprises everyone. And like all good poker players, Davis hasn't shown all her cards yet. She's sure to have a few unexpected moves in the works before this showdown in over.