What Women Want

By Alison McQuade on
June 13, 2012


Mel Gibson may have humorously tried to navigate his way through the world of women’s product marketing in the 2000 RomCom, What Women Want, but twelve years later, EMILY’s List has the answers to what women want – in Congress.
Our 2012 Women’s Monitor found that women are deeply dissatisfied with the status quo in Congress and are looking for change. These women feel let down and left behind by our nation’s leaders. To them, DC is broken, overly partisan, lacking compromise, and out of touch.
When asked what images they think represent Congress, here are some they came up with:
  boring white guy
how would you like to see congress?Double yikes. This is what women think of our nation’s leaders – greedy, lazy, bickering. That’s not very favorable. Overwhelmingly, the images they attributed to our broken system were gendered male. And it’s not just the images; women also described the system as old, white, and male:
   >> “A bunch of silver-haired mostly guys.”
   >> "Men trying to run everyone’s lives they way they feel it should be.”
   >> “A bunch of old men with their arms crossed and grouchy looks on their faces.”
   >> “I picture old, white and male. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but this is the prevailing ‘type’ that runs our   country, and has since the beginning of time.”
These ladies certainly didn’t try to beat around the bush. And rightfully so! They’re frustrated and discouraged by a system that is not only failing them, but seems to be attacking the policies and rights that mean most to them.
But, wait, there’s good news. We also asked these women what they’re looking for instead. The characteristics women voters seek in their congressional representatives include collaborative, equality, balance, relatable, listeners, nurturing, smaller egos, understanding. All of these qualities are distinctly more feminine and line up with the Democratic women running for office this year.
When asked what Congress would be like, in their view, if more women like them were in office…
   >> “Women, in general, have a negotiating style that is much more collaborative and less combative, which I think would be more effective.”
   >> “We would understand people’s hardships. I think more people would relate to us.”
   >> “I think women would listen more and genuinely care.”
   >> “Men have been running this country long enough, and look where we are.”
   >> “I think that we need women in the US Senate and Congress right now to help balance the opinions of issues.”
So, let me get this straight: women are looking for less of the same. Less of the same interchangeable, old, white, Republican men who are trying to roll back their rights. So what, then, do they want? More diversity. More public servants – in the truest sense of the word – like teachers, police officers (Val Demings!), firefighters, veterans (Tulsi Gabbard! Tammy Duckworth!) More women who will fight for what matters to them. More women who look like them, represent them,  and are more willing to compromise, and more open to listening.



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