September 25th, 2008
04:46 PM ET

Ladies, vote with your purse

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/25/art.2008women.jpg caption="The women of the 2008 presidential campaign: Michelle Obama, Gov. Sarah Palin, Jill Biden, and Cindy McCain."]

Ilana Goldman
Women’s Campaign Forum Foundation

Women are shattering another record this campaign season. While women generally lag behind in political giving, they are poised to TRIPLE their giving to presidential candidates. That is truly the power of the purse.

For better or worse, money is a critical factor in acquiring political power. When women lag behind in giving, it means that women’s political will is not fully reflected. That’s why WCF Foundation works toward the day when women understand that electoral contributions are a critical part of political participation and achieving political power – and give accordingly .

Our new study, Vote With Your Purse 2.0: Women’s Online Giving, Offline Power  shows the incredible influence women can have on the electoral process through giving. From gifts as small as $10 and as large as $1,000, when women come together to financially support candidates they make a huge impact.

The web is the next frontier in growing women’s political contributions. The web allows the timely, regular and intimate contact that best engages women – and savvy campaigners are taking note. With just a few clicks, an ad, a commercial, an email, anything can reach the public within seconds, and they can talk right back.

Women are using the Internet more than ever before; it has become an outlet for women to talk about what matters to them and to share their opinions with others. More than 70% of American women are online, using blogs (36 million read or write them), social networking (over half of Facebook and Myspace users are female) and accessing a wide variety of online resources to find up-to-date information and to actively engage in the political process. In fact, women who donate to campaigns via the web are online even more often, sometimes three times as much, as those who have not donated.

We also found that women are using the web for politics at unprecedented levels:

  • Before making a political contribution, 55% consult online news sources, 54% consult campaign email updates and 49% consult campaign, PAC or political party websites.
  • Nearly 80% forward political information or stories to friends and family and nearly 90% ask those contacts to become engaged with a campaign in some way including signing a petition or giving funds.
  • A startling 92% visited campaign websites, 79% signed up for email updates, 73% took polls and 60% signed petitions.

Women have the capital and the ability to use and increase their influence to demonstrate what they want in a candidate and in their government. It is vital to our democracy that women give politically. It matters to have “skin in the game.” It matters to put one’s money where one’s politics are. It matters to impact important policies by electing champions. Ladies, vote with your purse.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Byron in Utah

    Male or Female it doesn’t matter!
    There is far too much at stake in this election such as: your future, my future and our childrens future. Hillary would have been one hell of a great choice. However,
    I am not sure whether John McCain’s ‘Sarah Palin cocoon’ is going to be a moth, butterfly, praying mantis, or just some unknown insect misfire waiting to be unveiled. We as a nation cannot afford to be stuck with an abundance of buyer’s remorse in the aftermath of all of this excitement. Don’t be guilty of buying something just because it has a name brand on it. Sometimes things are not what they claim in spite of their label. Counterfeits are more common now than ever before. Please make sure of what you are buying when you vote. If you don’t know, then don’t vote just for the sake of voting.

    September 26, 2008 at 2:18 am |
  2. April Tucker Rock Hill

    I think Sara Palin is a joke. I will not be a woman that votes for her because she is a woman. I was not sure about voting for Obama due to Hillary's experience, but if the republicans think this woman has enough experience to run our country they are more loss than I realized. She sounds like a dumb blonde.

    McCain is trying to avoid facing Obama heading on for some reason. His appearance in Washington is politics, and will not gain anything in the end. I dont understand why America Republicans are supporting someone who will decrease their standard of living. I assume they are supporting it ,because they have enough income lose. I dont have any room to lose money. This country needs leadership, but I dont see that happening with McCain/Palin ticket.

    September 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  3. Betty, Virginia

    I USE to be a republican
    until I heard Obama's "YES WE CAN"
    experience is bust
    and change is a must
    I'll put my money behind the new man

    Made my first political contribution ever this year... and I'm not done yet.

    September 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  4. chris

    why is it that none of the media outlets mentions that SARAH PALIN had an affair with her husbands business partner five years ago

    September 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  5. Becky, Shreveport

    Thanks for telling me yet another thing I can do "because I'm a woman." I don't need the distinction, thank you very much. I think it's much more important for EVERYONE to start with educating themselves first and foremost about their specific political ideology. our country is so jaded and intimidated about politics- and we've really got to get over that. I understand that it takes money to win an election, but instead of perpetuating the idea of money first, we should be paying more attention to the candidates and what they're actually standing for. too many of us are wasting our privilege to participate in open, fair elections and it's disgusting because we are so truly lucky that we have a free press- we've got to start taking advantage of it!

    September 25, 2008 at 8:26 pm |
  6. Ann Arnold

    I'm with Rob, Let's all write in our vote for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States of America!

    September 25, 2008 at 8:09 pm |
  7. Ram Riva

    Shouldn't the "first dude" from Alaska, Mr Palin be in this mosaic, instead of his wife?...

    September 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Rob

    What would happen if every woman in the country wrote in her vote for Clinton on the ballot? I have always encouraged my wife to speak her mind and vote her conscious. She feels more and more empowered as she sees the results of her choices.

    September 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  9. Stephanie, Houston, TX

    I've been a total political news junkie this election season and can't quite believe myself either. I usually have an opinion, and a strong one, about who should be in the White House, but this year the election has taken so many interesting turns and has been so ground-breaking, to say the least....that I just can't get my mind off it. I take little mini-breaks during my days at work to post comments on the blogs, read articles in the Washington Post, visit CNN, etc. I think I'm even waking up at night thinking thoughts about the election – so it's been really compelling.

    I guess I've given a bit to my candidates and party, but the main thrust has been digesting and commenting on all the information available in today's virtual world. I feel as though this has been a part time job even! Anyway, good luck and may the best team win, and let's hope it's the right one for our country.

    September 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Ratna, New York, NY

    But women still don't get paid equally as men. How ironic!

    September 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  11. KIm

    Been there done that got the T-shirt ! 18 million cracks in the ceiling and way to go Senator Clinton !

    September 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  12. Surafel Melaku

    I think all woman are powerful, seriously, and those four are elected for us to choose, right? Right! So i was watching with my friend she is not it too politics but since i'm, i flip the channel to CNN situation room and my friend looks at Sarah and say "she is hot, i mean pretty, specailly her smile" I say what the hell are you talking about who cares how she looks i ask, she reply "I think i'm going to vote for her, she looks nice and beautiful" I said you stupid if you cast you vote just for beauty and my other friend jumps in and say "im going to vote for her because she looks proffessional" I realized that if this Mrs. McCain and Sarah go out in major city i think this election will shift and swift to the Republican.

    September 25, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  13. Madeliene Dunn

    Illana, Very interesting and informative article. I usually donate something, but this time around I gave more money to a political campaign than ever before. Women are practical, and practically speaking we can see that a mistake this time around will be much more costly if the wrong team wins.

    September 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  14. Karen

    I don't invest in stock for the same reason I don't gamble, it is risky. Poor people can't afford bail out privately owned companies. We need to have answers as to how the situation got this bad.
    We the People need to know the truth. No deal. We need to have the debate.

    September 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm |