Conservative Women Overlooked - As Usual - On International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, "a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women."  Yet as we learn all too often, these neutral-sounding words really mean: a day to celebrate liberal women advancing progressive policy goals.  

As 2016 RNLA National Policy Conference speaker, Network of enlightened Women President, and conservative female attorney Karin Agness Lips reminds us, Republican, conservative, and libertarian women are stereotyped, attacked, and not welcomed by modern feminists:

“If you would gather a group of leaders in the women’s empowerment movement, their definitions would vary dramatically,” Lips says. “The problem with modern-day feminism is that it lacks a universally agreed upon definition, and that it’s been co-opted by political liberals and progressives as a vehicle to pass their political agenda.” 

Lips, who is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, believes in what she calls “opportunity feminism, which seeks to maximize women’s opportunities to build fulfilling and meaningful lives they want to build.” . . . 

“Too often, in my experience, and for a lot of women on campus, once you speak out as a conservative, you turn in your ‘woman card‘ and you don’t count anymore,” Lips says. “[Liberals] attack conservative women, often with a vitriol expressed more for conservative women than men.” Indeed, there are those left-of-center talking heads who guard their political beliefs as viciously as some on the right.

Ms. Lips' "opportunity feminism" fits within the broader framework of conservative and libertarian values of greater individual freedom and less government regulation and is therefore better for women and everyone else as well:

She says this version of feminism prioritizes maximizing opportunities and choices for women, rather than seeing them as victims "that need every interaction regulated." 

Opportunity feminism prioritizes equality of opportunity over equality of outcome, meaning that so long as women have the same opportunities as men in education, the workplace and politics, it doesn’t matter if they are represented in equal numbers.  

"I'm hoping that that's going to be a way for conservative women to reclaim the feminist title," said Agness Lips. "The left claims they are the women's empowerment movement and they're not. And our policies are actually better for women."

In a world where law students disrupted Christina Hoff Sommers' Federalist Society speech at the Lewis and Clark Law School in the name of anti-fascism on Monday (the sheer ignorance of relatively recent history displayed by these supposedly educated law students--our future colleagues in the practice of law--is frightening), we are immensely grateful to have conservative and libertarian female attorneys who can provide a good example on International Women's Day.  Women who can think independently, fight for good policies, and be strong leaders, supporting the rule of law, without attacking our country.  RNLA women leaders like:

  • Co-Chair Joanne Young

  • Vice President for Communications Harmeet Kaur Dhillon

  • Former Chair Kimberly Reed

  • Vice President for Membership Audrey Perry Martin

  • Vice President for Washington, D.C. Operations Claudia Hrvatin

  • Board of Governors member Kathleen Jones Goldman

  • Board of Governors member Heather Heidelbaugh

  • Board of Governors member Anne Lewis

  • Board of Governors member Beverly Weiss Manne

  • Board of Governors member Nancy Taylor

  • Arkansas Chapter Chair Bilenda Harris-Ritter

  • Hawaii Chapter Chair Adrienne King

  • Pennsylvania Southeastern Chapter Chair Linda Kerns

  • Tennessee Chapter Chair Linda Knight

As Republican female attorneys are bombarded with messages about "equality" and progressive policy goals that women must embrace to be welcomed in the modern women's movement, remember that we conservative and libertarian women are not alone.  We may not be as (obnoxiously) vocal as many highly educated liberal women, but we are capable, we are many, our ideas are better, and we are having an enormous impact on the policies and future of our country.