The XX Factor

Why Women Aren’t Republicans

Politico just ran a pretty intriguing story speculating on why there are so few women in the Republican party , and it definitely rang true for me. A few weeks ago, I went to a GOP lunch at the National Press Club sponsored by the RNC.

The main speaker? A fiftysomething white guy in a suit. Who proceeded to talk nonstop for the next 30 minutes about his impressive political connections (yawn-does he think we know who these people are?), the dire need for volunteers that weekend for a tight race in Pennsylvania (dude, we live in D.C.), and the strange predicament of women not being attracted to the GOP (hmm …).

I was by far the youngest and had the least respectable job-not a lawyer, doctor, or entrepreuneur but a member of the mistrusted media. At one point, it dawned on our host that I must know how to use Facebook! I could start a Facebook page for this group! It was a genius idea! It would attract women all over the country! I bit my lip and nodded noncommitally.

The women I know who have gotten into politics aren’t motivated by power. They’re motivated by a desire to tackle specific problems in their schools and local communities. At this lunch, the women I talked to didn’t care so much about some race in Pennsylvania or the opportunities that could move us up the political ladder as about the issues that we’re confronted with every day in the newspaper headlines and routines of life: school vouchers, high taxes, national security, or abortion.

My take is that there are some good reasons for women to be Republicans: True republicanism is a platform where local communities are empowered to solve their own problems. It’s a good model for women, who like to accomplish tangible change in specific situations. But until the Republican Party can articulate what it stands for and how it’s going to bring those ideals about, I’ll probably keep on bringing my own lunch to work.