The gender gap in voting is the latest hot topic after a USA Today poll showed Obama leading women voters over Romney by 18 points in key swing states. But there’s another gender gap when it comes to election season, and this one doesn’t work in women’s favor: women are being completely outspent by men in campaign contributions. This isn’t a new trend. While women have been slowly working on increasing our numbers in Congress – even though our representation is far, far from equal – there hasn’t been equal progress in women donating to Congressional candidates, the Center for Responsive Politics reports. Campaign contributions have long been a boy’s club, although women made advances when both Clintons made their runs. But this year’s political contributions are a different animal now that Super PACs have been emboldened by the Citizens United ruling. There are currently 407 Super PACs, and they have received over $150 million and spend over $85 million, making them a serious force in the race. Yet women only make up 14 percent of Super PAC donors, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the Houston Chronicle. That number is down from previous years, in which it was more than doubled.
The problem isn’t just limited to Super PAC spending, however. The Chronicle reports, “Overall, women, who make up slightly more than half the population, account for about one-third of contributions to candidates, parties and political action committees.” For example, in the 2010 midterms women were only about a quarter of donors to House Democrats and 28 percent of those to Senate Dems.
Why this huge gulf in spending? Do women just care less about politics? Given the immense power the gender gap in voting has given Democrats in recent cycles, that seems unlikely. The real problem is pretty simple: we just have less money to spend than men do. Women are still making 77 cents to a man’s dollar. They also rarely make it into the top paying ranks of American companies. They only account for 7.5 percent of top earners in Fortune 500 companies. That’s in part because they are so underrepresented in the C-suite: they are only 20 percent of executive officers and board members at those companies and a measly 3.6 percent of CEOs. Not to mention that we get charged more for products from deodorant to health care, so that money doesn’t stretch as far.
Our spending numbers are also likely depressed in this cycle because of the battering we’ve taken during the recovery. Women have only gotten about one-third of the roughly 200,000 jobs added in January and February, and just as recently as August they were even losing jobs. That’s why while men’s unemployment rate has improved slightly, women’s has gone up.
Full Article: How the Wage Gap Thwarts Women’s Political Agenda – Forbes.