Women in California celebrate the re-election of President Barack Obama. Photo courtesy of John Rose.
The 2012 election put the spotlight on women. First, national Democrats seized on the rape remarks of a handful of Republicans whom they claimed were waging a “war on women.” And the election resulted in a record 98 women serving in the House and Senate. But where were women voters putting their money, politically speaking?
A new report from the Center for Responsive Politics finds that only 11 of the top 100 political contributors in 2012 were women. In 1990, 21 were women. (And it should be noted that 1990, unlike 2012, was a presidential off-year election, which typically results in less political engagement of all kinds.)
To put this current (2014) federal election cycle in context, women have made 25 percent of all itemized contributions. In the 1990 campaign cycle, when there were 31 women in Congress, they made 23 percent of contributions. So far in this cycle, the percentage of contributions coming from women has not kept pace with the record number of women now in congress. As the report concludes, “How much things change, and yet, how much they stay the same.”
Female Democratic candidates receive the highest proportion of their contributions from women and male Republicans receive the smallest proportion from women. (Although Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., cracked the top seven senate candidates receiving money from women.)
Women who are homemakers consistently make a small percentage of overall contributions, representing between 7 and 9 percent of donations since 1990, but interestingly, their donations show them becoming more politically conservative while women employed outside the home have grown more liberal.