What Women Want: Politicians, Take Note


When President Obama recently appeared on The View, chatting it up with Barbara, Whoopi, Joy and the others, he affirmed, “I love hanging out with women.” You kinda had to wonder that if Hillary Clinton has gotten the presidential nomination and won, then appeared with the girls on The View, if she would have glibly proclaimed, “I love hanging out with men.”

Wouldn’t the media have a field day with that one? Clearly, President Obama wants to win the hearts and votes of women voters, but such blatant pandering brings up a point about men being condescending when it comes to women. You’d think by 2012, things would be different. I can recall an incident back in the year Today’s Chicago Woman was launched, 1982. Then married to a stockbroker at a very reputable national brokerage firm, I accompanied him on a trip to London with a large, select group from his company. These were the top brokers and the trip, which included spouses, was an award for exceeding sales quotas.

The first day, at the spouse’s program, the president of the firm welcomed the guests. He then proceeded to bring finance down to a level that he felt the group would understand, by saying something about when we shop at a supermarket and have to choose between a brand of sugar and whatever – I don’t remember the rest, because I was now in a mode of disbelief.

I wasn’t alone. One woman stood up and proclaimed that she was offended by such a simplistic analogy. She stated her job title: chief financial officer of a publicly traded Fortune 100 company. She went on to chastise him for thinking we needed to have finance explained to us as if we were 3-year-olds. She also pointed out other women in the group and shared their impressive credentials. And, yes, the room did break out in loud applause. It was electric! The speaker was speechless.

And the point was clear: We women DO NOT like to be pandered to. Women are a powerful voting force, and one thing most of us have in common regardless of political preference is concern over the economy. Like James Carville remarked back in 1992 during Bill Clinton’s campaign for president, “It’s the economy, stupid.” So quit patronizing us. We don’t need to be liked by vote getters; we have enough girlfriends.


About Sherren Leigh

Sherren Leigh is president and founder of Today's Chicago Woman and Today's Chicago Woman Foundation. She muses about life - the good, the bad, the ugly - and anything else that's on her mind in “Girl Talk.” Sometimes funny, other times serious, she's always thought-provoking and often controversial.