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August 17 2017

What Women Want 97 Years After Winning The Right To Vote

via Forbes
by Karin Agness

Friday marks the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, in 1920.

Unlike many women around the world, American women have a voice in politics and policy. Women throughout the nation are influencing legislation, helping hold leaders accountable, and running for office, including to be President of the United States.

The media often implies that women have uniform political views. But they don’t: Women made up a majority of voters in the last presidential election and voted based on a variety of issues.

After the 2016 election, a poll by The Economist and YouGov found that less than a fifth of female voters agreed on one issue as being the most important. Eight different issues received 5% or more in response to a question to identify “the most important issue for you”—the economy at 17%, social security at 15%, health care at 14%, terrorism at 12%, the environment at 8%, education at 8%, immigration at 6%, and abortion at 5%.

In 2017, I asked a group of women who all advocate for policies that maximize freedom what motivates them to vote and why women should take voting and participating in the political process seriously.

United States Representative Susan Brooks said:

It is so important for the future of our country to have strong female leaders in public service. Women have certainly left their marks in America’s history books and a lot has been accomplished by women, for women, since the 19th Amendment of the Constitution granted women the right to vote 97 years ago. I want to encourage all of us to consider how much farther we can go in the next 100 years. Today, women in public service can easily be characterized as red, white and few. When women have the same opportunities and access to the same resources as men, we all benefit. We need more women to support our female leaders. We need to serve as mentors for the next generation of female leaders. We need to encourage women of all ages to pursue leadership and take that big leap by running for public office.

Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Programs at EdChoice, explained why she votes:

I vote because it’s my duty as a citizen—and I do love the privilege of being a citizen of the United States. I’m motivated as a conservative to help elect candidates who will respect and preserve our free market economy, adhere to the rule of law, and value life and individual liberty. I care most about these issues: Educational freedom and school choice because our next generation of leaders must be educated well enough to understand free markets, defend separation of powers, and possess the character and ability to think independently, and religious liberty because it is essential to preserving our freedom; this is non-negotiable.

Carrie Lukas, President of the Independent Women’s Forum, explained why health care is a key issue for her:

Our country has moved toward letting government control our health care system.  Increasingly government is not only paying for or subsidizing most people’s health insurance, but regulating every aspect of health care, which is discouraging innovation and leading to higher health care costs. This needs to change. It needs to change not only so that Americans can enjoy a better health care system, but also to help restore government to its proper role in our lives and in society.

Alison Winters, Senior Policy Fellow at Americans for Prosperity, focused on economic freedom:

We should celebrate the 19th Amendment which gave women an important right—to be treated no differently than any other citizen when selecting our country’s leaders. It’s a fundamental tenant that the rule of law in a free society should apply equally to all. I do find it ironic that the 16th Amendment which granted Congress the right to tax income including women’s—should they have any—was ratified before the 19th Amendment. Women who are entrepreneurs and business owners, really all Americans, would greatly benefit from tax reform that makes our code simpler, more efficient, and more fair.

Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget and Entitlements at The Heritage Foundation, also stressed the importance of economic policies:

I vote because I believe that government programs and Americans’ increased dependency on them have left individuals, families, and our nation less free and less prosperous. I vote because I believe natural consequences and rewards are the best kind and the government is limiting both through massive welfare and social insurance programs (that encourage people to make poor choices) as well as crony spending, excess regulations and high marginal taxes (that discourage hard work and entrepreneurship).

Natalie Foster, Host of Love At First Shot on NRA TV, said:

Nothing in the world is more important to me than my family and our founders empowered us by ensuring our God given right to defend ourselves and our loved ones. Though too many mistake it for a dividing line, I emphatically believe that our Second Amendment right is a uniting force. It applies to all law-abiding Americans regardless of color, faith, class, gender, etc and I’m so grateful to be able to protect it for generations to come with every vote I cast.

And Lisa Daftari, Editor-in-Chief of The Foreign Desk, mentioned national security:

The most important things to us as thriving young women are issues like the economy, which inevitably will affect our growth and opportunities available to us and of course, national security, which determines our safety and existence. These are the two issues that are most important to me, as a woman covering the plight of women around the world. I am extremely cognizant of the freedoms and opportunities we have.

Different issues motivate different women to vote—no surprise. Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, cautioned against women voting just based on sex:

I vote not as a conservative woman but as a conservative….Ideally, any voter should seek to return the country to the meritocratic principle and to replace identity politics with a focus on personal responsibility and bourgeois self-discipline.

Since the 1964 election, the number of female voters has been greater than the number of male voters. It is the duty of all voters, regardless of sex, to become educated on issues and make sure to advocate for policies that secure our basic liberties. We owe that to the women and men who fought for the 19th Amendment.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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