Can We Stop Talking About the Gender Gap?
Now that the election is over, can we please stop talking about the gender gap, as if women vote a certain way just because they are women? I worked in politics for many years. I get the need for polling and for making educated guesses and generalizations about people’s voting preferences based on certain demographic criteria. But at the same time, I find it utterly offensive to presume that any candidate can woo me along in the same net with my female friends and family, just because we are women. Unless he/she, has some magic weight loss potion, it ain’t gonna work. First, in this past election there was as much of a gender gap among men as there was among women, but very few people are talking about that. Somehow people presume that all women care about is abortion and education — and we all think alike on those two issues. Here’s a news flash to the news media: every woman has issues that matter to her, and she’s not checking in at a coffee clatch to make sure they are the trending topics.
The two most hard nosed fiscal conservatives I know are: women. One of the most conservative political operatives I know is: a woman. One of the biggest democratic fundraisers I know is: a woman. These are women in my close personal and professional circle. When I look out my office door, I see eight women, none of whom I expect to see eye to eye on any slate of issues. And none of us want to be campaigned to as women. We want to be seen as voters. Plain and simple. We care about abortion and the war in Afghanistan. We care about conflict in the middle east and gay marriage. We care about the fiscal cliff, national debt and the mortgage crisis. But we all have different priority lists, different positions on the issues, and our own independent ability to think through the issues. Voter preference is based far more on the values our parents handed down to us, our religious upbringing, our career experience and our own personal circumstances than by our ovaries. What is the message that is supposed to resonate equally with me, 40-year-old working soccer mom of two, a 20-year-old female college sophomore, a 30-year-old single female soldier, and our various grandmothers? Fact is, we may all have as much in common as Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice do, which is to say, not a lot, except that we’d like to be respected and judged professionally for what and how we think and not how we have our hair styled this month. I actually think the politicians themselves more or less understand this. I wish the media would catch up.