A couple of weeks ago the men’s rights group, A Voice for Men, held its first International Conference on Men’s Issues, which is a thing, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. If you’re unfamiliar with Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), all you need to know is that they are men who blame their personal failures on women.
Which is why it was surprising to see not one, not two, but five women among its 14 speakers. That’s 36%.
Now only about 150 people attended this gathering, which obviously hardly anyone paid attention to. That’s to be expected since it’s a relatively small movement. And yet, the event’s organizers thought it prudent to include to include several women in its lineup despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans are unaware of the conference’s existence, and hence give zero shits about who spoke there.
Unlike the International Conference on Men’s Issues, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. is a much bigger gathering, where this year 2,459 people voted in its presidential straw poll alone. It’s the largest annual assembly of conservatives in the United States. A three-day event televised on C-SPAN, it’s eagerly monitored by conservatives and liberals alike, albeit for entirely different reasons.
So you might think that a nationally-televised event designed to promote a conservative and Republican brand that’s taken a beating on women’s issues would at least make an effort to feature several prominent conservative females on its slate of speakers.
You might think that. But you would be wrong.
Of the 40 solo speakers at 2014’s CPAC in March, six were women, or 15% of the speakers. They were Sarah Palin, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Carly Fiorina, South Dakota state Rep. Jenna Haggar, Minnesota state Rep. Tara Mack, and two-time failed Illinois congressional candidate Erika Harold.
The dearth of female speakers was enough to make Breitbart writer Mary Chastain to basically throw her hands up in disbelief:
“CPAC is the biggest gathering of conservatives and a great place to fight back against the left. How can they convince voters, including independents, that the GOP is not the party of old white males when the majority of the speakers at CPAC are just that?”
Not only that, but what does it say when the two most well-known women — Palin and Bachmann — CPAC was able to book as speakers are women who are so intellectually stunted that when they speak, they embarrass not only other women, but humanity in general?
If conservatives really have any interest in appealing to women voters — and I can’t see that they possibly would after all they’ve done and not done — they would not only invite more women to speak at CPAC, but invite prominent conservative women who at the very least know that Africa is a continent and that vaccines don’t cause mental retardation.