As a woman who moved from the left to the right, I’ve watched with some interest the political discussion about how conservatives can address women’s issues and win our support.
The answer is actually quite simple: be genuinely conservative and realize “women’s issues” are everyone’s issues.
In other words, conservatives must reject the sexist liberal nonsense of treating women as though we’re some separate special interest group which has no interest in the many serious issues we’re facing as a nation.
The left’s obsession with big government, and control over our lives it requires, destroys women’s lives. So what do Democrats do to keep this harsh reality hidden? They marginalize the discussion, patronizing women by attempting to distract us with singular issues, reducing us to reproductive systems and sex objects. Abortion, birth control, and the so-called “war on women” are all meant to keep women, and those who love them, distracted from liberals’ ruinous policies.
After all, being able to get an abortion on demand doesn’t mean so much when you’re living in the backseat of your car. “Free” birth control? Less thrilling when you’re not in the mood for love because you’re jobless, have no rent money, gasoline is $5 a gallon and your health insurance premiums skyrocketed 41 percent.
The conservative ideal, comparatively, is one that respects women, doesn’t reduce them to objects to be harangued, but instead recognizes them as citizens to persuade.
Despite the feverish left-wing characterization of women as crazed zombies caring only of sex, women’s lives are complex and involved. The economy matters to women, just as it does to men. It is financial freedom that allows women to be in relationships because we choose to be, not because we must be—the real pro-choice. Financial independence means a woman can choose where she lives and which schools her children attend. It means we are the stewards of our lives, not some politician in a far away capitol.
Government getting out of the way of small businesses thriving, is certainly a women’s issue. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, “More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.4 trillion in sales as of 2014. Women-owned firms (50% or more) account for 30% of all privately held firms and contribute 14% of employment and 11% of revenues.”
Small government means lower taxes, which means we are keeping more of the fruit of our own labor. It means, as women, we are able to make choices that best suit us as individuals As long as anyone, including women, are reliant on the kindness of strangers in the government, we are never truly free.
Women understand this, and it’s why in 2010 a majority of women voted for Republican and conservative candidates in overwhelming numbers. There was no special Republican strategy to win women votes; it happened because it became apparent we had elected a presidential failure. The economy was first and foremost on our minds, and we weren’t satisfied with the liberal agenda.
The Los Angeles Times reported, “[Economic disappointment among women] translated into a jolting drop in female support this year for House Democrats, who won just 48% of the women’s vote, down from 55% four years ago, according to exit polls. Republicans edged them out with 49% of the overall female vote, the best showing for the GOP since the gender gap emerged in the 1980s, when women began to vote more Democratic than men.”
Women’s issues are the economy, the corrupt government, unemployment, foreign policy, national security, healthcare, and the federal deficit. The statement made by women in 2010 was unambiguous, but Republicans must be willing to make Reaganesque, fiscally conservative arguments to win them back.
Western women especially understand the value of personal freedom. The way to persuade us is the same way to win everyone else: by boldly rejecting the liberal goal of making every woman a frightened, reliant victim of government, and by reminding us of the power and imperative of small government, individual freedom, capitalism and the free market.
Conservatism is simply the only belief system that allows all individuals to thrive on our own terms.
Tammy Bruce, an Independent Conservative, is a radio talk-show host, New York Times bestselling author, blogger, Fox News political contributor and a columnist at The Washington Times.