Who’s your sugar mama?

Large political donations from women are up dramatically since 2000 -- and it may not entirely be because of Clinton and Palin.

Topics: Bill Clinton, Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

No matter your politics, you’ve got to admit that this year’s election has been a big one for American women. So perhaps it’s unsurprising to hear that women haven’t just been paying more attention to the political season, they’ve been ponying up the cash.

According to Politico, a study released Tuesday by the Women’s Campaign Forum Foundation found that donations by women of $200 or more (the minimum at which a donor’s name has to be reported) are triple what they were in 2000. This year, women have donated $109 million in checks of $200 or more to political campaigns. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of this cash went to Hillary Clinton — about $60 million in checks over $200, the study reports. (That amounts to about half of Clinton’s total donations of more than $200 — and doesn’t take into account the donations under $200, many of which were probably made by women.) Barack Obama has done well with the ladies, too, with 47 percent of his total donors identified by his campaign as female, compared with 28 percent for John McCain (though since he is accepting public financing, that doesn’t take into account Sarah Palin’s effect).

Before you get up in McCain’s face about his low female participation, though, keep in mind women’s low participation rate to begin with — on average, donations from women account for only about 27 percent of political contributions (though again, since donors’ names don’t have to be released unless the donation is above $200, the share may be higher). It’s tempting to jump to the conclusion that this year’s bounce has to do with Clinton’s run for the presidency and an overall greater focus on women (not to mention, of course, Palin), but Politico suggests there may be other factors at play. It reports that Celinda Lake, a Democratic polling expert, suggested five possible motivating factors:



Women want to see how hard elected officials champion issues they care about. They also want to be inspired to give, rather than just asked to do so. Female donors are also more inclined to conduct research before giving, often visiting candidate sites and other Internet sources before committing to writing a check. Finally, these donors want to see how their money is spent and interact with a broader community of supporters.

If these motivators are true, then it would seem that the Internet, even more than the candidates themselves, may be influencing women’s donating habits. But regardless of the cause, there’s a bigger issue at stake — as Ilana Goldman, president of the foundation that conducted the poll, suggested, women “cannot have the political power we’d like to see women have if they aren’t giving at comparable levels as men.”

Catherine Price is a freelance journalist and author of "101 Places Not to See Before You Die". She also runs a legally themed clothing shop called Illegal Briefs.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>