Lauren Leader-Chivée, an expert on diversity and women's issues, said progressive women ignored the needs of conservative women and thus set themselves back in 2016 by not uniting on shared policy issues beyond abortion. She acknowledged that many Women’s March participants were not welcoming to pro-life women.
“There's no one answer to solve this,” said Leader-Chivée, author of Crossing the Thinnest Line, and co-founder and CEO of All In Together, during a recent conversation at Salon Talks. “I do think that one of the lessons of this election and one of the lessons of basically every time liberal feminism in a sense has lost in a big way -- and liberal feminism did lose in a big way in this election, and it lost in a big way in the late 70s with the ERA -- it is often because we -- and I say we because I am one of them -- underestimate the power and the passion and the conviction of conservative women who view the feminist agenda as excluding them" added Leader-Chivée. "I think there were a lot of women in this election who were . . . not voting for Donald Trump, but who were voting against Hillary Clinton on the abortion issue as one very core, moral question for them. And does that mean we all are gonna ever agree? No. But I do think the future of a whole bunch of other issues that are not abortion. . .rest on our ability to find some common ground", she concluded.
Leader-Chivée also said the millions of women marchers who gathered on January 21, the day after President Trump’s inauguration, are a force to be reckoned with. Republicans, she said, would be unwise to ignore the potential groundswell the Women’s March could represent in future elections.
“There is tremendous collective power, and I think part of what the [Women’s] March tapped was that potential collective power that women really do have and should have more of,” Leader-Chivée said. “In any political environment, the opposition is always the most motivated, right? And the most mobilized. So you will see, I think, a disproportionate response from democrats right now." She feels American women are having a sort-of moment of reckoning. "It is this sort of moment that I think Americans are realizing. . . if you don't own your democracy, if you don’t participate, things may happen that you don't like.”