Women on the Right Unite to Elect More Women
Today the Republican National Committee, alongside the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Governors Association, the Republican State Leadership Committee, the College Republican National Committee, and female leaders from the state and national levels, will announce an initiative to get more Republican women into office.
We’re calling it, “Women on the Right UNITE.” This is absolutely critical work. America needs more women in public office, and Republicans are making a commitment to do our part.
Why? Because the best way for women to be better represented in America is to have more women representatives—from the town council, to the governor’s mansion, to the Senate floor, to the White House.
America needs our voices—whether in elective office or as activists. Women today make up an increasingly large share of the workforce, but it’s not quite reflected in what I call the “elected work force.”
Let’s face it: men have been at this longer. The political system has long been male-dominated. It wasn’t until 1948 that a woman was elected to the United States Senate for a full term without having been first appointed Senator. (That, of course, was Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who later became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention.)
To this day, we women still have some ground to make up. There are 24 states which have never been represented by a woman in the United States Senate—almost half the states in the union.
Encouraging more women to get involved in politics doesn’t mean putting pink elephants on websites or patriotic stilettos on posters. It means training and resources and recruitment. It means making sure more women serve in leadership positions in both parties. It means making sure that as women, we are there to mentor and to help other women that choose to run for elected office with both our encouragement and our tangible support. That’s what this new project is all about.
One thing we’ve learned is that women are more likely to say they feel the need to be asked to run—not all of them, but many of them. I won’t attempt to explain the factors that conspire to cause this. But I do know that I wouldn’t have been a precinct committee member if I hadn’t been asked. And if I hadn’t been a precinct member, I wouldn’t be Co-Chair of the RNC.
That’s why the RNC Co-Chair’s office has developed the “Ready to Run” initiative, to help female candidates and potential candidates navigate the complexities of launching a campaign. That’s in addition to the RNC’s campaign school and campaign finance school that educates candidates and campaign staff on every aspect of running for office.
The Republican Party certainly has challenges to overcome. And we have to stop treating women like a coalition. As I visit with women all across the country, I remind them that we are not an interest group. Based on last election’s numbers we are 53 percent of the voters, and we need more seats at the table. There are also people, in both parties, who talk about a singular “women’s vote.” You don’t win the—quote—“women’s vote.” We have more than one vote. We don’t all get together and cast our one ballot, and we’re certainly not single issue voters.
So I look forward to our party doing things differently and doing things right.
We have a long history of strong-willed women leaders in the G.O.P. When Susan B. Anthony cast a ballot in the 1872 presidential election–an act for which she was arrested–she proudly voted the Republican ticket.
Of course, I’m not worried about how women voted in 1872. I’m more concerned about how they will vote in 2014, 2016, and beyond—and I’m hoping they’ll have the chance to vote for more Republican women.