Study: Women Need to Contribute More to Increase Political Power

By US Daily Review Staff.

She Should Run, working with the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), releases their Vote with Your Purse report last week, revealing women lag drastically behind men in political giving. Using data from the 2010 election, which marks the United States’ first backslide in electing more women to office in over 30 years, the report shows correlation between the low recorded federal political contributions from women and their representation in Congress. Women made up just 26% of the total given to candidates, political action committees (PACs), and party committees in that election year, which is down from 31% in 2008.

The report identifies that in order to get more women elected to office, women must increase giving to female candidates. “Money is essential in winning campaigns,” says Sam Bennett, president and CEO of She Should Run. “If you don’t give, you don’t have a voice, so I urge women to put their money where their mouth is. As a nation where women make up over 50% of the population, yet only 17% of Congress, women must increase their political giving to other women to affect change and close the gender gap.”

Data from CRP suggests if a majority of the US female population from different age groups, ethnicities and economic backgrounds gave just $5 to a female running for office, women could make significant strides toward a balance in political representation.

Vote with Your Purse underscores the fact electing more women to political office has never been so important,” says Bennett. “If women voters across parties give as little as $5 to one female candidate, it would be enough to run a female candidate in every House race with a budget of over $1 million each. Together, we can ensure 2012 will be a historic year for women in politics.”

Despite the gender gap in political giving, female candidates are good fundraisers. In 2010, female House incumbents raised approximately $100,000 more than their male peers and female challengers raised over $74,000 more than male peers.

Though women candidates excel in fundraising, men make up a greater portion of donations to female candidates. In 2010 only four of the 2,215 candidates relied on women for more than half of their campaign contributions.

Other important findings from this year’s Vote with Your Purse report include:

  • Only 27% of total contributions to individual candidates were made by women, representing a 6.3% decrease from 2008
  • In 2010, women made 30% of the total individual contributions to Democrats and just 25% of the total contributions to Republican candidates
  • Women made just 21% of the total contributions to PACs in 2010, down 1.8% from 2008
  • Women made 38% of the 2010 individual contributions to the Democratic National Committee, while women made 24% of contributions to the Republican National Committee

Data from past Vote with Your Purse reports explains women invest in political campaigns at lower rates because they do not think their money matters in showing support for a candidate and the issues they champion. Furthermore, women do not connect political leadership with positive, productive social change or view political giving as a civic responsibility.

“When they understand the connection between political leadership and social progress, women are more receptive to political giving,” says Bennett. “Women must realize their financial support is needed to make important change for women.”

The full report, which includes tips on how female candidates can increase women’s political giving, is available at

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All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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