June 28, 2013

For Immediate Release

GOP Women’s Outreach: Hollow Efforts to Recruit Women Candidates

Today, representatives from six Republican committees in Washington D.C. will convene to launch a joint effort to recruit, support and advance women within the Republican Party. 

In 2012, Americans elected an historic number of women to the House and Senate -- 80% of them were Democrats. But even with these huge gains women represent only 18% of Congress and both parties agree it’s time to change that. But Democrats are doing all of the heavy lifting: 75 of the 98 women currently serving in Congress are Democrats. 

Achieving gender parity in Congress is a huge undertaking, and it would happen a lot faster if Republicans were doing their fair share when it comes to recruiting and training women. But the truth is that GOP attempts to bring more women in to the fold are hollow, because the Party platform is to still hostile to policies that actually work for women.

EMILY’s List recruits, trains, and supports the campaigns of pro-choice Democratic women because they are the most progressive voting bloc in Congress, and fight for policies that benefit women and families. This includes fighting for equal pay for equal work, expanding access to reproductive healthcare, and preventing violence against women.

Our record number of victories during the last election happened not just because we ran fantastic candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin – they happened because women voters were turned off by the Republican Party’s attempts to roll back the clock on their rights and freedoms.

When a woman decides to run for office as a Democrat, she knows that she’s representing a Party that respects her dignity and equality enough to fight for policies that protect it. The same simply cannot be said for the current Republican Party, which has conducted a thorough autopsy of their failure to attract women voters during the last election cycle, and has concluded that their messaging, and not the very substance of their anti-woman policies, is the problem.

So they keep supporting nearly identical – and unpopular – legislation to ban abortion, and opposed paycheck fairness once again. The one policy Republicans introduced in an effort to reach out to women, the deceptively named “Working Families Flexibility Act,” would have actually disproportionately harmed low income women by getting rid of their right to overtime pay. They attempt to use their few women Representatives as a mouthpiece for the same backward agenda - but voters aren’t interested in the messenger, they’re interested in the substance of the message.   

After more than 100 days, the great “GOP rebrand” hasn’t worked. Republican rhetoric – from calling women (even running in their own Party) “streetwalkers,” to the unending ignorant comments that belittle the struggle of rape survivors – doesn’t seem to be changing either. And that is because their rhetoric reflects their true beliefs. It is the core values of the Republican Party that are driving away women. Ultimately, women leaders don’t want to be the face of a party that is so opposed to protecting their rights and opportunities. And, honestly, who can blame them?

BACKGROUND

STATS

Current Numbers

Congress - 98 Women: 75D, 23R

State Legislatures - 1,783 Women: 1,136D, 632 R

Congressional Breakdown

More D Women Than R Women: 32 of the last 49 Congresses

Tied: 5 of the last 49 Congresses

More R Women Than D Women: 12 of the last 49 Congresses

Total # of D Women Who Have Served In Congress:        189         64.5%

Total # of R Women Who Have Served In Congress:         104         35.5%

Republican Candidates

Last cycle, 109 Republican women filed federal paperwork to run for the House: 48 won their primaries, including 21 incumbents, and 20 won their elections, according to a study from the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. (A post-election retirement left the House GOP women’s caucus with 19 members.)

2010 was a record year for R women candidates – but of the record-breaking 145 women who filed to run, only 52 won their primaries. Of those 52 only 23 won their general election. Of the 145, 17 filed for Senate, 5 won their Senate primaries, 1 won her general election. Of the 128 who ran for the House, 47 won their primaries, 22 won their general elections.

Number of Pieces of Anti-Choice Legislation Introduced By R’s in Congress

2013: 27

112th: 56

111th: 31

POLLING

April WaPo poll finds that only 23 percent of Americans — that would be fewer than one in four — believe the Republican Party is “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today,” while 70 percent believe that it is “out of touch.” Among independents, those numbers are 23-70. Among moderates they’re 20-75. [Washington Post, 4/16/13]

Gallup recorded largest ever gender gap in 2012 election. [The Hill, 11/9/12]

RECENT VENTURES IN GOP WOMEN’S OUTREACH

June 2013: GOP Consultant Said Women Can Only Run When “Kids Are Out of the House.” Roll Call reported that “Conservative women often play the more traditional role as caregivers to their children, and running for and serving in Congress often prohibits them from carrying out those roles, said Angela Faulkner, a GOP direct-mail consultant. “The only time a woman can run is once the kids are out of the house. And that’s not fair,” Faulkner said. “That’s why Republicans have a harder time recruiting women to run for office than the Democratic side. They are trying to figure out, ‘How do I balance both?’” [Roll Call, 6/23/13]

June 2013: GOP County Chair in Illinois Calls Republican Woman Candidate A “Streetwalker.” Talking Points Memo reported that “A GOP county chairman in Illinois called a black female congressional candidate a "street walker" and the "love child" of the Democratic party -- and he was referring to a fellow Republican, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday. Montgomery County GOP Chairman Jim Allen emailed the website Republican News Watch with his remarks about former Miss America Erika Harold, who will challenge incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) in the Republican primary for Illinois' 13th congressional district. "Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires," he wrote. "... Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS." [Talking Points Memo, 6/20/13]

June 2013: Texas Rep. Jody Laubenberg Said There Was No Need For An Exception For Rape In Abortion Ban, Because Women Can “Get Cleaned Out” By Rape Kits. During the debate over one of several of Texas state Rep. Jody Laubenberg’s anti-abortion bills, one to ban abortions after 20 weeks, another legislator asked for an exemption for women who were victims of rape. Laubenberg claimed the exemption was unnecessary, saying “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out...The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.” [Think Progress, 6/24/13]

June 2013: MS Gov Phil Bryant Blames Working Moms For “Mediocre” American Education System. Slate reported that when asked to explain why “American education became "so mediocre," Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said, "I think both parents started working. The mom got in the workplace." [Slate, 6/4/13]

June 2013: Sen. Saxby Chambliss Blames Military Rapes On "The Hormone Level Created By Nature." During a hearing on sexual assault in the military, Sen. Chambliss posited that rape in the military should be blamed on the “hormone level created by nature.” He also suggested investigating all pregnant servicewomen to determine whether or not the pregnancy resulted from consensual sex.  He also shared his opinion that the Pentagon’s decision to allow women in combat roles was only going to make the problem worse. Chambliss said, “several years ago when we had the first females go out on an aircraft carrier, when they returned to port, a significant percentage of those females were pregnant.” He continued “The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23,” he pointed out. “Gee-whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So, we’ve got to be very careful on our side.” [Raw Story, 6/4/13]

June 2013: Rep. Marsha Blackburn: ‘Women Don’t Want Equal Pay Laws.’ Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn said that women “don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.” Blackburn has routinely voted against equal pay laws. She voted against both the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2009. [Huffington Post, 6/2/13]

RECENT LEGISLATION

June 2013: House Passed Law Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks. On June 28, 2012 TIME reported, “In what some conservatives are calling the most important abortion measure to be considered by Congress since 2003’s partial birth abortion ban, the House today passed a bill that would make it illegal to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks. The bill, which passed 228-196, is not expected to have an impact on federal abortion law. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill and the White House has already threatened to veto such legislation if it ever lands on President Obama’s desk.” [TIME, 6/18/13]

Every Republican Present Voted Against Bringing Paycheck Fairness Act Up for a Vote. On April 11, 2013 it was reported that House Republicans had blocked a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would provide help to victims of wage discrimination on the basis of sex. “House GOP leadership is not likely to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act up for a vote any time soon, but House Democrats used a procedural move to force them to go on record opposing the bill on Thursday.” The report continued, “Every Republican that was present for the vote on Thursday voted against the motion to bring the bill up for a vote.” [Huffington Post, 4/11/13]

GOP Reintroduced Failed Legislation Aimed to Attract Women but in Reality it Would Harm Female Workers. In April 2013, Republicans introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act. “The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 reincarnates a proposal that has been introduced several times since 1997. Previous versions – under such names as the Work and Family Integration Act, the Family Friendly Workplace Act, the Family Time Flexibility Act and the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act – have failed to become law.”  The bill, introduced by Rep. Martha Roby, is part of the “Make Life Work” campaign led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor to appeal to women and families. However, the National Women’s Law Center argued that the bill could give employers the opportunity to coerce employees into accepting comp-time instead of overtime pay, and that that practice could lead to yet another form of unchecked wage theft. [NWLC, 4/16/13; Huffington Post, 11/7/12; Growth & Opportunity Project, 2013; Huffington Post, 4/10/13] [Kansas City Star, 4/11/13]

  • Bill Could Leave Low Wage Workers Even More Vulnerable. Many low-wage earners, who are typically less likely to negotiate contracts, could view comp-time as a non-negotiable term of employment. Many  low-wage workers are already facing struggles with being paid the legally required overtime rate, and few can afford to challenge these conditions in court. [NWLC, accessed 4/30/13]
  • Women Are Nearly Two-Thirds of Minimum Wage Workers. The effects on low wage earners would hit women especially hard, as women make up two-thirds of minimum wage earners. [NWLC, accessed 4/30/13]

STATE ATTACKS ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Abortion Restrictions: By the Numbers

  • 41: The number of states that have enacted abortion restrictions at different stages of pregnancy
  • 12: The number of states that have enacted abortion restrictions that challenge Roe v. Wade
    • North Dakota: Bans abortions as early as 6 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period
    • Arkansas: Bans abortions at 12 weeks of pregnancy
    • Arizona and North Carolina: Bans abortions once 20 weeks have passed since the woman’s last menstrual period, or 18 weeks after fertilization
    • Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma: Since 2010, these states have banned abortions at 22 weeks
  • 14: The number of states in which legislators introduced provisions to ban abortion prior to viability during the first three months of 2013
  • 694: The number of bills introduced related to reproductive health and rights in the first three months of 2013—47% of which sought to restrict access to abortion.
  • 26: The number of states that require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time. Nine states have laws the effectively require women to make two separate trips to obtain the procedure.

[New York Times, 6/17/13; Guttmacher, accessed 6/19/13]

 

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