by Barkha Herman

I attended the Independent Woman's Forum event "Women in the Wilderness: Charting the path Forward" last night, where Mollie Hemingway spoke.  Here's some observations.

  1. The event turnout was larger than even the organizers expected.  Very positive, it would seem that many women are concerned about how women vote and want to make a difference.
  2. Mollie spoke very well.  She phrased the concerns in the right context, on how to reach women.  Here's a video link of the event.
  3. I met Diane (formerly Ellis).  Both Diane and Mollie are lovelier in person than their online personas.

Some of the ideas presented (that stuck in my mind):

  1. You can't convert people by first telling them that their concerns are imaginary (e.g. there is no gender gap).  If they are concerned, there is a reason.  If it's only perception then change it – but challenging or accusing them will immediately alienate them.
  2.  Republicans need to learn how to talk to women, and regarding women's issues. (duh!)  The accusation is that they don not even engage women.  
  3. We need to learn how to reach a broader audience.  E.g given was regarding the use of the term "Judeo-Christian values".  Does this alienate Asians?  (Personal note:  the conference was one of the whitest events I've attended in a while)
  4. Women are in fact doing better in private sector than in Government.  This is proof that Government is not needed for women to succeed.  This fact needs to be advertised.
  5. We need to advertise our successes.  E.g provided was of Susana Martinez.  Why is her speech not everywhere?  (Personal note: I live and work with a lot of Latino women who are interested in politics, none of them had ever heard of the first Latina Governor  Susana Martinez)
  6. There is more to women than mothers.  E.g. given was a comparison of promotion materials on Mitt Romney's website (Moms for Mitt).  
  7. Respect other peoples values. Not all hearts can be won over by statistics.
  8. Always provide alternatives rather than just saying no.
  9. Don't play on their field (listen to the video link to get all of Sabrina Schaeffer's points)

It was an interesting evening.  I met several motivated people, but I still feel like we were in an echo chamber.  I think that we need to reach a broader audience.  

The left has managed to make everything into women's issues, why can't we?  One of the questions I had through the entire gun control fiasco was why is gun control not a woman's issue?  Why are there not 100 cases of women successfully used guns to defend themselves all over the news?  Where are the letters from women to the president?

Thoughts, comments, welcome.