Women Hold the Real Power in this Presidential Election

as seen in the NY Daily News

Do you know our super power?

The recent projections showing what the electoral map could look like if only women voted have gotten significant (and deserved) attention, and the clearest message of that map bears repeating — whichever candidate wins the majority of women’s votes will win the presidential election. That’s power!

However, this shouldn’t be news — women have arguably been the determinative demographic in every presidential election since 1980.

In 2012, for example, women outvoted men by 10 million votes; to put that number in perspective, Barack Obama won the election by 5 million votes.

So, while we’re thrilled to see the voting power of women finally being recognized this election cycle, we should pause before we paint our gender’s preferences with too broad a brush, especially as we transition from taking polls to implementing policies that will affect every American.

Women are not a monolithic group — quite the opposite, in fact. Across generations, sexual orientation, party affiliation, race/ethnicity, we belong not just to one group or identity, but to many.

Naturally, our intersectional experiences straddling the borders of these groups influence the issues nearest and dearest to us.

For some, racial justice predominates in our political concerns. Others focus on the economy or immigration. And for others, the issue animating them is education, or gun violence, or mental health, foreign policy or reproductive rights.

No matter the policy, there is much at stake in our country today, and our collective differences should command the respect of our elected officials.

We are troubled, therefore, that this election has not allowed for constructive conversation of these differences, and has instead been characterized by divisiveness and contention on all sides.

We founded the All In Together Campaign, a non-partisan nonprofit, to highlight and showcase how women are leading the charge in encouraging greater civic and civil engagement.

Just look at the example of women senators: research from Quorum Analytics shows that female senators are more productive, more collaborative and more likely to work with senators across the aisle than their male counterparts.

In May, AIT hosted a dinner bringing women from both sides of the aisle together to discuss our nation’s political system, featuring Katie Walsh of the Republican National Committee and Amy Dacey, then of the Democratic National Committee.

Despite their political differences, they engaged in a conversation that demonstrated great respect for one another — personally and professionally — and highlighted the historic roles they play in the political realm.

Numbers are powerful, but our ability as women to cross lines of difference, to listen to and work with those who disagree with us, is our superpower — if we choose to use it.

Demands to #RepealThe19th should horrify all of us. Women’s votes and voices are crucial to the survival of a fully participative, representative democracy.

So on Nov. 8, we’ll stand in line to cast our votes, and, regardless of the outcome, encourage our friends and colleagues and mothers and sisters and daughters — indeed, every woman — to continue to speak up about the issues they care about and demand that our voices be met with respect, empathy and action.

Because once our representatives take office, the even more challenging (and arguably more important) work begins — holding them accountable for the commitments they made to earn our votes.

Unfortunately, research shows that Congress receives an estimated 2 million more letters and phone calls from male constituents than female constituents every year. For the sake of our politics and policies, that must change. How can government policies reflect our diverse interests if we don?t make them known?

As with our votes, our voices are powerful — but only if we speak up. To fully drive the conversation, women must lead in all spheres: the professional, the personal and the political.

Casting your vote on Nov. 8 is crucial but it is not enough. Call your member of Congress. Meet with them. Advocate for the issues that are most important to you and demand to be heard not for your vote but for your point of view.

Earlier this year, we launched the AIT Action Center to make this easy to do — whatever your political affiliation, whatever your issue.

Any organization that seeks to endure must commit to civility in discourse and respecting their members’ differences because they understand those commitments improve both the health of the business as well as the health of the communities it serves.

The same principle applies to our government and our country, and here, too, women can lead the way. When the dust settles after the election, seek out and work with those who disagree with you. Demonstrate empathy to their points of view and their experiences.

Our democracy can only be truly representative, fully reflective if women — all women — are fully engaged.

It’s ours to lose.

You can access the original article on the Daily News website.