If there is anything the Democrat party is good at, it's building a narrative. And with the press on their side, they have successfully pushed forth some whoppers. A pervading rumor spread by the left, that I am sure both sides tire of hearing, is the GOP "war on women." How the party who chooses to murder our future women through abortion could accuse the other side of a war on women, and not be met with outrage, aptly sums up the power the Democrats have amassed in the public.
So this weekend in Charleston, SC, women from across the nation are gathering to help battle the GOP's gender gap so artfully crafted by the Democrat party. The Bridging The Gap Women's Summit will feature a strong line-up of conservative women such as Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Renee Ellmers, R-NC, Kay Granger, R-TX, Star Parker, Dana Loesch and Ann Coulter. As noted by Karen Floyd, former chairwoman of the South Carolina Republican Party and hostess of the summit:
The perception that the GOP is “anti-woman” is a recent phenomenon evidenced in this past presidential election, when large numbers of women were persuaded that the GOP wanted to ban birth control, even though no Republican candidate supported such a policy.
The messaging worked particularly well with single women under the age of 35, resulting in widespread disenchantment of the GOP driving women away from Mitt Romney and other candidates of the GOP.
If there ever were a time for conservative women to unite and work to inform the public on the benefits the Republican party offers to women, it is certainly now. While there are many women leading the charge, there is a great need for more women to stand up for the true values of the party. I spoke with Floyd about this weekend's summit and what she hopes it will achieve.
RedState: So what is the main idea behind this weekend's summit?
Floyd: Palladian View is the entity through which Bridging The Gap is being hosted. This is the third year that we are conducting a summit. The Palladian View vision is building leaders of tomorrow by empowering women. So the objectives of the summit are really threefold. The first and foremost, the reason this was formulated, is to inform through messaging. The second is to recruit the next generation of political leaders. And the last is really to provide a networking opportunity.
So about the messaging, the format is different than anything I've ever seen before and it's something that we invented and are prototyping and we'll see how it works on Saturday. This is what will happen: We have five keynote speakers who will stand up and speak on different topics. They will say provocative things, not purposefully but because these are strong women and they are strong in their opinions and their insight into issues and their beliefs. Then a panel will be asked questions to basically analyze the provocative statements that are being made. We will use note-sketching, also called sketch-noting, in which an artist uses a big foam board to capture the essence of what's being said in a very visual way. I will be moderating it and I will say, for example, "Ann Coulter just made the statement.... what do you panelists think about this in connection to this?" So you're never really deviating off the primary issue. The purpose is to really delve deep into messaging, so that the audience, attendees and participants can see the multifaceted nature of issues; meanwhile being captured by a note-sketcher.
So this is not your traditional, walk in, get some inspiring speech and everyone goes home. This is really a very informative approach at messaging. In the last portion of every segment is a Q & A from the audience. So they'll say, I mean I'm just making this up, but, "Ann Coulter was really clear about... and panelist A was very clear about... Can you help me understand, keynote B, why you said...?" So, again, it's about dissecting message and figuring out what makes the most sense in a big picture. It's about allowing women to hear the nuances of message so that they can take the message themselves and move it forward, and have a comfort level about the issues that they have.
RedState: Why do you think conservative women have shied away from leadership roles?
Floyd: What I believe is that it's incumbent upon a grassroots effort, organic effort, to show women that they can hold these leadership roles by example. And that is why, really, we have three congresswomen and people like Dana Loesch who have a really strong following talking about why these are so important, why offering up is critical. The truth is, women are not offering up, not just in political venues, but also in lots of leadership areas. I think only 9 of the world's 190 major heads of states are women. Only 15% of women are in top positions in American corporations. Only 4.2% of women are Fortune 500 chief executives. So it's not just in politics, what the numbers show is that if women are over 50% of the voting populous and yet they are so significantly underrepresented, specifically conservative Republican women, then it's time to begin in a very informed way of saying this is a network that will help you, let's help recruit the next generation and here are some very clear messages on what that looks like.
RedState: How do you think the GOP can help support women and dispel the "war on women" myth Democrats have created?
Floyd: I think actions speak louder than words and this is an effort to inform women so that they feel empowered to offer up for public service. The truth of the matter is, statistically, women tend to want more data, they want to be more prepared. Women require more to enter into the foray and what we're trying to do is give them the knowledge base so they feel comfortable, so they can enter into public service.
RedState: Do you think the GOP has fallen short where women are concerned?
Floyd: No, I really do think (and this is going to sound trite) this has a lot to do with comfort level. It has a lot to do with feeling comfortable with issues, feeling that one's entry into politics is meaningful and needed; there are a number of different things. I don't think there has been an effort to disengage women, I think we now need to put our efforts into engaging women.
RedState: What do you hope attendees take away from this weekend?
Floyd: The takeaway is that women come out more informed about issues and more comfortable with communicating their respective message on these issues. It is, perhaps, recruiting the next generation of political leadership. It would be my wish that from this summit a couple women candidates would come forward or feel inspired to put their names into public service. And the last is creating a network, an organic network, that hopefully will grow long term and build upon. I think we'll see the results in the elections going forward.
The Bridging the Gap Summit will take place August 23 - 24th at Memminger Auditorium in Charleston, SC. More information is available here.