Ninety years ago this week, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and American women were given the right to vote for the first time. The suffragettes of 1920, who accomplished this amazing feat, would surely recognize the economic fury and frustration driving their 21st century sisters to political action in 2010.
Women now actively participate in the U.S. economy at unprecedented rates. They are the breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of all American homes. In at least two million of those homes, wives are carrying the entire family financial burden as their unemployed husbands can’t find work, despite the Obama administration’s claim of a “Recovery Summer.” But women still earn, on average, only 80 percent of what men earn, which means that higher taxes — of any kind — and higher prices take a larger bite out of women’s incomes.
The women of the early 20th century wanted a voice and a vote in the fate of the nation. So, they fought the establishment and won. Today, the women of the early 21st century want those they love to be able to find work. They worry as they watch their bank balance decrease while household bills increase. They are tired of run-away government spending that is bankrupting our nation.
Women in 2010 won’t complacently watch Washington squander their families’ economic futures. They promise to fight the establishment, and they are poised to win, too. Since women have out-voted men for 40 years, and this year will out-vote them 52 to 48 percent, women literally decide who leads the nation.
The biggest trend of the year may be a record number of conservative women running for office. From former corporate chieftains Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in California, to state legislators like Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Sharron Angle in Nevada, women are yet again proving the axiom: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. They want to go to Congress and to state capitals, to roll up their sleeves and do what the career politicians can’t seem to get done.
In addition, women who aren’t running for office are organizing, mobilizing and engaging in the political process. Estimates are that women comprise up to 55 percent of the Tea Party Movement. These are the wives and mothers of soldiers and veterans, who are rocking the cradle of the next generation, caring for elderly parents and working full time, either at home our outside the home.
And as we know, this movement isn’t top-down; it’s definitely bottom-up. There is a broad swath of women in virtually every neighborhood and community rising up to say, “Enough is enough.”
For the first time, there is a Kitchen Cabinet to assist in that uprising, by mobilizing 100,000 women online, who will then organize a total of one million new women to vote for economically responsible and conservative leadership this November. Since President Andrew Jackson’s administration, the term “kitchen cabinet” has meant a group of men who act as confidential and personal advisors. This year, economically-concerned women want to take their place in the Cabinet, too.
This Kitchen Cabinet was formed by a group of committed women in 2009 to attract new women to politics — giving those who want to re-establish our free enterprise way of life a way to participate from their den, their car, their living room or, of course, their kitchen. We are a growing force of women from all communities, age groups, ethnicities and economic levels; from the hourly worker praying for a raise to the work-at-home mom launching a new business.
What’s driving women in 2010 are bread-and-butter financial issues, the specter of rising federal debt and increased health insurance costs. They manage to balance the family budget and stretch pennies into dimes when they have to. They figure it’s time governments did the same. They want leaders who know what they know: You can’t spend what you don’t have, and you shouldn’t borrow from tomorrow to pay for today. They figure it’s time for leaders who can get this country working again. If our current ones won’t, they’re volunteering to be the ones who will.
According to a July 2010 poll taken by Kellyanne Conway/inc., 51 percent of women believe that “creating jobs” should be the number one priority for Congress and the President for the rest of this year, beating out six other issues. The same polling company also found that 71 percent of women believe that the federal government spends money in a “mostly inefficient” manner.
These women are fired up and ready to go. The 20th-century suffrage movement was “the beginning of a campaign the like of which was never known…” The Kitchen Cabinet will replicate that campaign this November, when women link arms and form a line to the polls. It’s time for a new generation of women to make history.
Sonja Eddings Brown is the President and Founder of The Kitchen Cabinet.us, an education reformer in California, and a long-time television and news producer.
For more information on The Kitchen Cabinet, contact Anne Schroeder Mullins, at email@example.com or 202-731-1992.