PARSIPPANY — Female soldiers in the conservative movement must straddle two critical responsibilities — being standard bearers for family values and leaders in the workplace if they choose to work — panelists speaking at an annual conference for conservative voters said today.
Liberal feminists who believe having a career is an essential foundation for being a "modern woman," are misguided, said Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based Independent Women's Forum.
"If women want to be in the work force, they should be. If it's financially feasible for women to stay in the home and raise their families, we should let them without criticism," Heath said. "Men and women are different. They are equal, but different, with different responsibilities."
Heath spoke on a panel of women with varied ages and ethnicities about the role of women in the conservative movement during the sixth annual Defending the American Dream Summit, a gathering of the state's most conservative political activists.
The conference, which continues through this afternoon, will feature speeches from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) and Fox News analyst Michelle Malkin. It's sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a political advocacy group founded and largely funded by oil billionaire brother Charles and David Koch.
Americans for Liberty representative Debbie DeLuca urged workshop attendees to press New Jersey voters to wake-up and recognize the harm caused by the state's historic liberalism. New Jersey's electoral votes have not gone to Republican presidential candidate in more than 20 years.
"My hope is that we can still establish a conservative New Jersey," said DeLuca, one of the panelists. "If we stick together, we can make it happen." Her group advocates for increased personal liberty and economic freedom.
Another panelist who identified herself only as "Barbara from Harlem" spoke of the success she achieved for herself and her family with only a high school diploma and a lot of determination. She rejected the notion that Republicans have waged a "war on women" by failing to support increased contraceptive and reproductive rights.
"There is no war on women, there is a war on American entrepeneurship," Barbara from Harlem said. "I succeeded because I had a desire to stand on my own two feet. We have to teach these young women, these young mothers to do the same and increase their skills to attain more for themselves."
This afternoon, the summit's 1,000 participants will participate in a rally designed to drum up support for conservative candidates a few weeks before Election Day.