Last week, the New York Times published an editorial declaring the seemingly imminent extinction of Republican women at multiple levels of government. Largely crediting the rise of Donald Trump, the article ends with a discouraging statement — and thinly veiled wishful thinking — that the “future for Republican women in politics looks very bleak indeed.”
While unquestionably there are strides to be made when it comes to increasing our ranks, evidence suggests that the prospects for American conservative women are looking up.
For starters, GOP women have not been dissuaded from running for office. Fully 170 Republican women have filed or are expected to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s more than 2 ½ times the 67 candidates who were running at this point in the 2018 cycle. In Texas alone, the number of female Republicans running for Congress has more than doubled since 2018. Republican women are tired of being overlooked and underestimated, and are stepping up to do something about it.
The real threat to conservative women’s political success has more to do with the left claiming to speak for all women, leaving right-of-center women feeling increasingly frustrated that their voices are diminished and that their views are left unrepresented. When they do speak out, brilliant, accomplished, and inspiring women are accused of being “gender traitors” who make “standing by the patriarchy a full-time job.” Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright even said that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” implying that women who did not vote for Hillary Clinton are deserving of eternal damnation.
The decidedly leftist event (and organization) the Women’s March self-appoints itself as a spokesperson for all women through its very name. Glamor magazine honored a gun control advocate, an abortion rights activist, and a city council member inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in their list of 2019 College Women of the Year, but neglected to include a single woman who happened to espouse conservative values.
In a culture that increasingly bemoans the fact that women don’t always feel comfortable speaking up for themselves, conservative women are often hushed into silence because of the prevailing narrative that the liberal left represents the interest of women in general. If you’re a man who is pro-life, activists claim that men should not have a say in so called “women’s issues.” Yet, if you are a woman who is pro-life, your opinion is also not deemed worthwhile. Which is it?
And while we’re on the subject, the women I know are tired of being pigeonholed as only caring about abortion. Women are people too. And people care about economic policy, national security, education, health care, and infrastructure, to name just a few areas of concern. But limiting women’s visibility to a narrow range of issues undermines our input in a vast array of other areas.
Congress is filled with inspiring Republican women such as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the first woman to have three children while serving in Congress, and Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, who lived in a home without running water or electricity until she was 14 years old. While they have been leaders for many years on everything from workforce development to higher education, from veterans’ rights to tax reform, it is Democrat officials such as Ocasio-Cortez who are constantly in the limelight. Another New Yorker, Rep. Elise Stefanik, was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress when she was sworn in, yet it wasn’t until she played a prominent role in the recent impeachment hearings that she became of interest to the national media.
Across the nation, Republican women are stepping up to the plate to advocate for their values. Whether they are running for office or simply becoming more engaged in policy and politics, their participation is valuable and needed. After all, they represent a significant portion of our population and are already leaders in their families and their communities.
The statistics are clear — and shocking. Out of the 11,000 people who have been elected to Congress, only 281 women, regardless of party, have ever been elected to the House, and only 50 women have ever made it to the Senate. Five states have never sent a woman to represent them in the U.S. House, and 21 states have never been represented by a woman in the Senate.
Many Republican women are working to change that. They are frustrated and fed up, and are charging the gate. What they need is encouragement and support, not the bewildered observation that they are just the last of a dying breed.
Just because there are obstacles, whether real or perceived, doesn’t mean that there is no hope. If anything, now is the time for GOP women to become more involved, and they are.
The left should not be the sole voice for the American woman. And fortunately, it isn’t. Republican women exist, they are determined, and they are stepping up like never before.