Study: Less Than a Third of Political Donations Come From Women
By Caroline May
Apparently it is still a man’s world when it comes to donating to political campaigns.
A new report on political donation reveal that women lag significantly behind their male counterparts when it comes to opening their wallets for politicians and political causes.
The report, released Tuesday by She Should Run (SSR) and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), found that women represented just 26 percent of the total given to candidates, political action committees (PACs) and party committees in 2010, down from 31 percent in 2008 and 27 percent in 2006.
Indeed, while the last three decade have seen women’s income rise more than 60 percent, women are consistently comprising less than one-third of all political donations.
According to Sam Bennett, president and CEO of SSR, women do not see the correlation between politics and their own desired social change in the same way men do, and they are turned off by the dirty nature of the political game.
“Women are far more motivated to want to see changes in their neighborhood and city on a social level than men are, but they have not yet made that connection [with politics],” Bennett told The Daily Caller. “In fact, women, far more than men, see the hard, sausage-making dimension of politics as something they are not willing to be engaged in. They find it distasteful.”
Ironically, while women are less likely to donate, female candidates are better fundraisers than their male counterparts.
The report reveals that in 2010, on average, female House incumbents raised about $100,000 more than their male colleagues, and female challengers raised over $74,000 more than male peers.
Bennett pointed to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Political Science — “Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect: Why Do Congresswomen Outperform Congressmen?” — to explain the discrepancy between the fundraising numbers of male and female politicians.
“The truth of the matter is it is so rare to have a female in elected office in this country that she by definition — she by nature — is going to be a rock star. She is going to work harder by definition. She is going to be better at what she does,” Bennett said. “For her to have succeeded in the Wild Wild West of American politics, as a woman, she is a better performer, she works harder. And that is what you see in fundraising. Fundraising, counter to public belief, is not so much a reflection of talent, but of sheer hard work.”
While women are good fundraisers, they are not raising their money from other women.
According to the report, just four of the 2,215 candidates that ran in 2010 relied on donations from women for more than 50 percent of their campaign contributions.
Further, when women do donate they are slightly more likely to give to more Democratic candidates or endeavors.
Last cycle, women made up 34 percent of the contributions to Democratic committees, 23 percent of those to Republican committees and 18 percent to third party committees.
The mission of SSR is to encourage more women to get involved and run for office. According to Bennett, the hesitation of women to get involved in politics is detrimental to their issues receiving attention.
“When women run they win at equal rates as men, and when they run they now raise more money than men. What’s the problem? They are not running. What’s the problem? They aren’t giving politically.”
The report explains that the best way to get women involved is to make the connection between women’s political dollars and the issues about which they are concerned.
Bennett predicted, however, that more women will likely get involved this cycle due to the large number of pro-life bills that passed in 2011 and 2012 by state legislators, seeing the issue as motivation to get involved.