Savvy Women and Savvy Thinking: Smart Girl Politics Summit 2013

Lots of insightful women thinkers converged on the Smart Girl Politics 2013 Summit in Indianapolis. While I came to listen and learn, I also came to offer for sale my book, Ladies, Can We Talk? America Needs Our Vote! Sharing the book’s message about the power of women to impact the national political conversation was a great segue to conversations with Summit-goers about how important it is for women to speak up for America.

Top Takeaways from the SGS2013 at the close of this first day of the Summit:

• One of the most uplifting moments occurred before the program even started.
An extraordinary young African-American woman stopped by my book vendor table. She told me that she is the founder of HoodConservatives, a just-now-forming group designed to lift low-income black families out of poverty via a multitude of inspired, private-sector ideas. She was raised in a Democrat household (in the ‘hood,’ as she says) but found her inner-Republican just by reading a magazine article by a man who wrote about “Why I am a Black Republican.”
She believes that focus on these issues through hands-on programs in black communities will bring many black voters to the conservative side: (1) entrepreneurship incentives (2) educational choice (3) rebuilding families (4) gun ownership rights and (5) selling financial independence, which is of course preferable, as attainable.
Whatever form HoodConservatives takes, her grasp at a young age of the core idea that big government has hurt the black community, destroyed families, and led to unhealthy dependency, and her willingness to tackle this problem, was deeply heartening.

• The Minority Outreach Panel discussed the widely recognized truth that conservative policies are better for women, and everyone, but conservatives tend to lose the messaging battle, especially with minorities. The very thoughtful Kira Davis moderated the panel. All of these panelists agreed that fewer Happy Hour style superficial events and more connecting in the community is needed, and that helping in all communities is vital (there is a lot to “just showing up”). Building trust is a mandatory precondition to having hearts open to hear our messages.
Knowing GOP party history was also touted---Republicans have been the most supportive of minority rights from prior to, during and since the time of the emancipation proclamation, but have simultaneously been the least assertive about what they have done. We have our backs in the corner when we should be leading the charge and the conversation because our ideas work.

Kira Davis monitoring the The Minority Outreach Panel

The panel that dealt with the false War on Women rhetoric from the American Left raised great points:

  • Free markets, limited government and many other conservative ideas are among the most empowering to women and all, and we need to say so.
  • The Sandra Fluke “free birth control for all is a right” absurdity inspired some women because there was a face with the idea. Associate ideas with faces and stories.
  • Liberals touting liberal ideas for women just say they are “speaking up for women” but conservative women always qualify their views as speaking for “conservative women.” This must end! Women pushing conservative ideas are standing for women, and should say so. No qualifier needed.
  • Obamacare will be very harmful to women, as care becomes rationed. Eagle Forum asked Congressional conservatives to run ads showing a comparison of the death rates from breast cancer in the UK socialized medicine system, and the American system. Congressional Republicans declined, which led the EF to recognize that grassroots people have to bring the facts out.
  • Real war on women is at the gas pump, the unemployment line, the poor public education system, etc.
  • Don’t state grand absolutes— e.g., we can oppose onerous proposed government fair employment laws or regulations without saying there is no workplace discrimination at all, anymore.
  • Resist and expose the Left’s efforts to depict women as victims—it is false and demeaning.
  • Celebrate diversity of women and their views, and reject the Left’s efforts to treat women as monolithic in their views.
  • Left wing women’s organizations out-raise conservative women’s groups, 10 to 1.
  • Conservatives lost young women voters in part because we so often speak in ways that are presumptive—that everyone is married—and the young single voters feel left out. Use fewer analogies that relate to the family budget.
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