A strange thing happened on the way to the 2010 midterm elections: the gender gap started shrinking. The gender gap is the name that describes the phenomenon of women voters tilting significantly to the Democratic Party. It was that was first noticed in the 1980s and has held true in national elections since then-until now.  

ABC News summarizes:

Women voters normally vote in greater numbers for Democrats, but the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll shows women divided almost evenly in the generic ballot, with 47% favoring the Democrat, 44% for the Republican. Four years ago, women favored Democrats by 12 percentage points in the midterm elections. After the event in the Foss family backyard, a reporter asked the president if he can help with these women voters.

Yes, the Democrats are struggling to get women voters this fall. The administration has responded by putting out a report (“Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women”) that highlights all the administration has done for women.  I hear the reaction from activist Democrat women is something along the lines of “…and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

The report falls flat (in my opinion) for several reasons. For one thing, as the report notes, women are a “growing share” of the workforce, and therefore, I suggest, as the report doesn’t note, more and more of us know that we don’t need special treatment. We recognize this report for what it is: politics. I also think that in a time of tough economic times, we can all see that something is not working.

It is true that the recession has hit men harder, because they are more likely to be in fields of endeavor especially hard-hit by hard times, but that is not something to celebrate. I think that another reason the report is underwhelming is that women know we’re in this together. In the past, women have wanted more safety nets, more security, guaranteed by government.  We’ve seen in the past few years how expensive this is and how ineffective the government is at delivering. We’re also seeing the financial woes begat of the nanny state in France and Greece. American women don’t want this in our country. 

IWF’s Michelle Bernard has produced an Agenda for Women 2010 that stands in stark contrast to the administration’s report. It talks about extending the Bush tax cuts, repealing and replacing a health care reform that doesn’t improve the medical care of women, and streamlining regulations. Adoption of the policies put forward would lead to a more vibrant economy…for women and men.

We’ll be examining the White House’s report on women throughout the week.

Please make sure you look at our agenda, too.