Headlines this week warn that Democrats might not have a stronghold on the “women’s” vote this November.

This is good news for a lot of reasons, but it suggests that there has been a real effort by women’s groups like the Independent Women’s Forum – and others like the Susan B. Anthony List – to take charges of sexism and a “War on Women” head on.

In 2012, at the height of the Democrat’s manufactured “War on Women” campaign, the Independent Women’s Forum conducted a randomized controlled experiment to learn more about how to talk about the wage gap and proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.

Even then, when Democratic vitriol was fierce, we learned that the War on Women narrative wasn’t a silver bullet. Our experiment randomly assigned respondents to one of four treatments or a control group in which they read competing arguments about the wage gap and Paycheck Fairness Act. Across all five conditions only 34 percent of women agreed there really was a Republican “War on Women.”

Even more important, however, is that our research demonstrated that it is essential for our side to respond on major “women’s” issues like equal pay. Certainly we want more women to understand the facts behind the small wage gap – why it exists, what women can do about it, and how government interference will make things worse – but we also learned that the impact of responding on equal pay had a cascading effect. Pushing back on the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act ultimately dampened the effect on the larger “War on Women” rhetoric.

The very act of having a debate – of creating a two-sided flow of information – reduced political support for President Obama among women who had voted for him in 2008 by 12 points, from 87 to 75 percent and boosted support for Romney by 12-points from 13 percent to 25 percent.

And this negative impact also affected support for other big-government policies. The debate over the PFA, where respondents read about the economic impact the proposed law would have, actually reduced support among Obama voters for ObamaCare and the president’s comprehensive economic plans.

Political behavior research tells us that it’s disruptive when women receive a competing argument. Voters hearing new information begin to question their previous understanding of the issues, and are more likely to seek out more new information.

This election season we’ve seen many more groups – especially conservative women’s groups – actively engage in the conversation. This is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we’re apt to see a real difference at the polls next month.

Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum.