January 18 2013

TPM: Meet the Conservative Women Shaping GOP Gender Politics

Talking Points Memo

Conservative women are beginning to look at ways to remedy the gender gap that helped propel President Obama to a second term in office. As TPM reported Thursday, a group of conservative women participated in panel discussion earlier this week on ways to fix the gender gap. The women broadly agreed that the men who run the Republican Party ignore women’s issues. Worse, they don’t don’t know how to connect with women, particularly young women.

“Is there anyone more tongue-tied than a Republican politician talking about women?” panel moderator Christina Hoff Sommers asked.

Republicans, they agreed, need to change how they approach women’s issues and try to appeal to young women. They also need to take a page out of the Democratic playbook, the panelists argued, and work harder to elect more conservative women legislators like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

Though their beliefs and priorities vary, there are a number of conservative women trying to shape the conversation on women’s issues. As the conversation unfolds, here are several in the field of women’s and social issues to keep on the radar, including two who were at the panel this week.

Christina Hoff Sommers is an author known for her critiques of feminism. Her best known books are “Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women” and “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.” She is on the board of the Independent Women’s Forum and a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. She began her career as a philosophy professor. (Photo credit: aei.org)

Sabrina Schaeffer is the executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, a group whose mission is “to expand the conservative coalition, both by increasing the number of women who understand and value the benefits of limited government, personal liberty, and free markets, and by countering those who seek to ever-expand government in the name of protecting women.” Schaeffer has worked in political communications. (Photo credit: iwf.org)

Penny Nance is the CEO of Concerned Women for America, a conservative advocacy group from the Christian right perspective, founded in 1979 to “protect and promote Biblical values for women and families,” according to its website. Nance has previously worked with a variety of advocacy groups. Recently, she worked as a special adviser to the Federal Communications Commission. (Photo credit: cwfa.org)

Kay Hymowitz is an author and columnist who writes about culture, marriage, poverty and feminism. A fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, her most recent book published in 2011 was called, “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Is Turning Men Into Boys.” (Photo credit: manhattan-institute.org)

Maggie Gallagher is known for her vocal opposition to same-sex marriage as president of the National Organization for Marriage. Currently, she heads the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Gallagher’s many books center on the issue of marriage, including her 1989 book “Enemies of Eros: How the Sexual Revolution is Killing Family, Marriage, and Sex and What We Can Do about It.” (Photo credit: marriagedebate.com)

Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that is dedicated to election pro-life women politicians, though the group also supports male candidates. As the group’s name implies, SBA List sees their pro-life advocacy as representative of feminists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before joining the group in the early 1990s, Dannenfelser worked at the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. (Photo credit: sba-list.org)

Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.

 

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