Empowering the Next Generation of Conservative and Independent Women APRIL 20, 2015 BY CARRIE SHEFFIELD

Mindy Finn is a digital savant: past coordinator for Twitter’s strategic partnerships, digital strategist for Mitt Romney and deputy director of the Republican National Committee’s eCampaign. Mindy partnered with Millennial pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson to research how young women view today’s feminist movement and whether it met their needs. They found tremendous room for growth among Republican and politically independent women lacking a movement representing their values.

On Wednesday, Mindy launched Empowered Women, a national network to connect center-right women and discover new ways of resonating with independent women.

“We need more,” Mindy told the crowd of some 200 women gathered at The Loft at 600 F Street in Washington D.C.’s Chinatown. “We need to align the perception of conservative women with the reality of who we are. Through Empowered Women, we’ll showcase and highlight role models for all women, tell their stories, and reach women where they are.”

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Source: Echelon Insights, Kristen Soltis Anderson

As cited in Mike Allen’s POLITICO Playbook, “Guests sipped on wine and mingled while listening to Rep. Barbara Comstock and Rep. Elise Stefanik. SPOTTED: Laura Cox Kaplan, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Katie Pavlich, Mary Katharine Ham, Sarah Isgur Flores, Anna Sekulow, Ann Marie Hauser, Riva Litman, Erica Elliott, Elise Stefanik, Barbara Comstock, Lisa Camooso Miller, Ashley Berrang, Connor Walsh, Amber Marchand, Jamie Corley, Julie Germany, Andrea Bozek.”

As a national organization, I was excited to host the Empowered Women satellite launch last week in New York City. Our guests included Leslie Bradshaw, tech entrepreneur extraordinaire; Scottie Nell Hughes, Fox Business co-host & author; Leigh Harrington, communications director for The Manhattan Institute; Brittany Cobb, development & events manager for Atlas Network; Lindsay Ashby, chief of staff at the World Energy Forum and United Nations Representative at International Council of Women; Soben Huon, former Miss Utah USA; Kara Eschbach, co-founder, editor-in-chief & publisher of Verily magazine.

I got involved because I agree with Mindy and other women that we certainly owe a debt to the women who fought for our right to vote, obtain schooling, work, etc. And I believe that we should acknowledge this rather than attacking left-leaning feminist leaders from organizations like the Feminist Majority Alliance, EMILY’s List, NOW, Ms. magazine, etc. That said, we as a movement acknowledge the centrality of the family and have important messages to convey about ways in which feminism over-revolutionized and in many ways contributed to the demise of the low-income family. We must pick up the banner of our fore-mothers to expand opportunities for self-empowerment rather than reliance on government and the perception that we are a weak or protected class rather than a powerful and proactive one.If as a woman you are not getting a ladder to climb from others, have the courage to create a ladder for yourselves and climb on it whenever you want without external support. Our strength is our self-confidence and have the capability to accomplish our goals automatically like the Trader VC robot, without leaving behind any of our duties or life moments.

At our New York launch, we discussed many related themes. Regarding fair pay/equal pay & regulation, we don’t want government to step in and mandate pricey leave packages for maternity, day care etc. We see in Europe this creates the opposite of its intended effect: fewer women in senior management because they are deemed expensive. However, we as a movement should encourage businesses to run a cost-benefit analysis and in many cases (which many firms don’t realize) it will be a positive return on investment for them to attract good talent. Yet for some, smaller firms especially, this is not a good fit for them. We want to encourage and empower employers to make the best choices for job creation and for women.

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Carrie Sheffield (far left) speaks with guests at the New York launch of Empowered Women

We talked about the generational, fiscal gaps between today’s Millennials and older generations, which will overburden us relative to our parents due to a reduced worker-to-retiree ratio and increased healthcare spending for older people under ObamaCare. We see this as a message to share with younger women to let them know about fiscal responsibility.

On questions of abortion and reproduction, we discussed how, for example, of the six female Republican senators there are three who are pro-life and three who are pro-choice. The center-right movement allows for diversity of thought among its female candidates, unlike the left. We discussed pregnancy prevention as a solid middle ground for women on the left and right to meet. We all want to see fewer unwanted pregnancies, and sometimes the right has been too afraid to discuss sexual education or contraception for fear it would encourage promiscuity. The right should own this issue and use it to empower women to prevent both unwanted pregnancies and unplanned births (which end up costing taxpayers billions since children without fathers, the most common profile for an unplanned birth couple, face difficulty in school, are more likely to drop out and get incarcerated).

Several times during our launch discussion, I cited research from Kellyanne Conway on women and politics. She said too many women don’t get politically involved because they feel intimidated. That includes the area of fundraising, where she said women make just 30 percent of political donations, and just 1.6 percent of American women have ever made any political donation at all.

“WE MUST EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-EMPOWERMENT RATHER THAN RELIANCE ON GOVERNMENT”

Through Empowered Women, Stefanik told the D.C. crowd, she wanted to change the math on the number of women running for office. She wants to remove any feelings of intimidation that Kellyanne has identified.

“My goal in the long run is not having to ask women to run for office, but that they feel the empowerment to step up to the plate and they value their voices in a unique way,” she said.

I’m excited to join this movement of Empowered Women, and I hope readers of Opportunity Lives will consider joining and encourage the women in their lives to join, also. We who are richly blessed must help our fellow sisters traveling along life’s paths.

Carrie Sheffield is Senior Writer at Opportunity Lives. You can follow her on Twitter @carriesheffield and on Facebook.