A recent Boston Sunday Globe Magazine article about the power and influence of mothers online implied women aren’t using their clout to affect change at a macro level and for political causes. “All this prompts the question – why don’t moms tap into this power more broadly,” the article posited and quoted several women who said online forums for mothers frown upon political advocacy.
Apparently President Obama didn’t get that memo because this week, via satellite, he addressed thousands of women at the 8th annual BlogHer Conference. BlogHer is a community of approximately 3,000 women bloggers (not all of them mothers but many are) and its annual event is the largest gathering of female digital influencers. These women talk politics and the President knows it.
In referencing the November election Obama told the bloggers, “Women’s issues are front and center, as they should be. But I think the conversation has been oversimplified a little bit. I bet anyone who spends a little time at your conference would realize pretty fast that women are not a monolithic bloc, you’re not an interest group. You make up more than half of our country and nearly half of our workforce — not to mention 80 percent of my household if you count my mother-in-law.”
No, women are not a monolithic bloc, but when they mobilize, watch out. I am often reminded and inspired by a local campaign in my hometown earlier this year. Frustrated by what many viewed as a lack of communication and transparency from the School Committee, a woman (and mother) launched a write-in campaign against three incumbents less than a week before the election. She won. And the people who mobilized to get her elected? “A network of busy mothers.” Many of these women were first time political volunteers who in previous elections thought they didn’t have time to help or believed their own line that “they’re just not political.”
Guess what? If you are raising a family, if you visit the doctor, if you work, if you pay taxes, you are political. And when women embrace that reality and harness it, they can affect significant change. President Obama believes it. The women at BlogHer believe it. Do you believe it?
There are many online forums for women where political advocacy isn’t frowned upon; it’s encouraged. Our very political Pinterest board, “The War on Women,” was named a top board to follow by Huffington Post. MomsRising.org is an excellent place to discuss issues and legislation related to things like fair pay, affordable child care and paid sick leave that affect mothers. BlogHer has an active bipartisan political section on its site. Or join our conversations on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll talk politics anytime.