There are very few major female donors in politics. Are women self-limiting our influence in politics? Or are we just the people who have the good sense not to blow thousands, let alone millions, on political endeavors that will frequently fail? As much as liberals love to fret about the “nefarious” influence of the Koch brothers and conservatives love to freak out about Tom Steyer and his fortune, isn’t the real criticism how much money these guys—and I do mean guys—blow on things that make New Coke look like a blowout success? Do we really still live in a world where the president of the United States is the most powerful person on the planet? Or is that now a title jointly held by Bill and Melinda Gates? Or even by the chairman or CEO of Goldman Sachs or Exxon or Apple?
It’s critical that women be in a position to pursue any job we want to, whether it’s coal miner or president of the United States, and that we be treated seriously and respectfully as part of that process. And to be sure, women do and should exert influence in politics. We’re the majority of voters, we do donate, we do knock on doors and make telephone calls, and many of us show great interest in local politics, especially.
But let’s not mourn the fact that politics, overall, remains rather male-dominated. While the boys are fighting about renaming post offices, who can give the best speech in an empty chamber to the C-SPAN cameras, and blowing their cash on donations to whoever sent them the best email that day, most of us girls are probably getting something meaningful done. That could be coming up with a new patent for a lifesaving drug, running a successful school fundraiser, expanding an existing business and hiring more people, teaching kids Spanish, helping fund groundbreaking medical research, coaching a major sports team, or making sure the neighborhood residents clean up their trash and think globally, act locally where their environment is concerned.