Why political candidates should be sucking up to women

According to the authors of "The She Spot," there's plenty of money and free P.R. to be had.

Topics: Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

If Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen are to be believed, women are poised to take over the world — or at least to make it a bit more liberal. Coauthors of “The She Spot: Why Women Are the Market for Changing the World — And How to Reach Them,” Witter and Chen looked at how marketing data on women can be used by nonprofits and political campaigns to appeal to female donors. AlterNet has an excerpt from the book today, featuring six reasons why women (by which they seem to mean, American women) are “the market for changing the world,” based on what’s known about our habits as consumers: We control slightly more than half of the world’s wealth (who knew?), and we make 83 percent of household purchasing decisions; when we have money, we’re more likely than men to donate it to charitable and political causes; we can work word of mouth like nobody’s business; we vote more than men, especially for Democrats; we volunteer more of our time; and what sells to us will often — contrary to the marketing wisdom of yore — sell to men, too. (Women tend to research everything from new cars to charitable organizations more thoroughly than men do, and “when you appeal to the toughest customer, you’ll have covered the bases on many of the factors that can turn a ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes’ — whether your target audience is a man or woman.”)

If charities and political candidates learn more about what women want (something they’ve been slower to do than corporations), they can tap into a whole bunch of money and free P.R. they’ve been missing out on, say Witter and Chen. “Not only do women have the power to profoundly influence the world of consumer goods, they also have the power to rouse and accelerate our ability to do good — provided we know to unleash that power.”

Here’s the problem: Nobody cares. (Yet.) Because half the population has long been considered a “niche market,” many of the people who could benefit from women’s purchasing and social power still haven’t quite clued in to it. Or, as Witter and Chen stingingly put it, “While we’ve demonstrated why women matter, making them count is a whole other story.”

Kate Harding is the co-author of "Lessons From the Fatosphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body" and has been a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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