For the past two decades, the amount of political money raised by women – and donated by women – has been steadily increasing. But this year, the trend has collided with a new reality in American politics: the Super PAC. The meteoric rise of the big-dollar political committees in the 2012 campaign has reversed some of the gains made by women since 1992, the so-called “Year of the Woman” in U.S. elections. According to Federal Election Commission data, women make up only 14 percent of Super PAC donors – groups now outspending the presidential candidates’ campaigns. That’s less than half the previous levels. 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, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit nonpartisan research group.
The shift away from women as donors and fundraisers comes amid a contentious national debate about issues such as contraception, ultrasound procedures and tough restrictions on abortion providers that have made female voters a focus of the 2012 election. Analysts say the reason for the shift is more economic than societal: the persistent gap between the income of men and women, and the very small number of women among the super-rich Americans who fund the Super PACs. While nearly half the workforce is female and a study by The Boston Consulting Group found that women control nearly a third of the world’s wealth, they have yet to make up more than a handful of America’s top earners. Women make up 10 percent of Forbes 400 Richest Americans and 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
“When you look at the fact that the vast majority of contributions of $2,000 or more are coming from the top 1 percent of the population in terms of income, it’s not surprising that men are overrepresented (in Super PAC donations),” said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Maine. Veteran fundraisers say men are more likely to give money to gain access to elected officials, while women are more interested in policy issues.
Full Article: Super PACs on rise, but not with women – Houston Chronicle.