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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)
- There is more to women than mothers. E.g. given was a comparison of promotion materials on Mitt Romney's website (Moms for Mitt).
- Respect other peoples values. Not all hearts can be won over by statistics.
- Always provide alternatives rather than just saying no.
- 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.