In the winter of 2009, I was an excited little freshman strolling up and down the aisle of booths with my new conservative friends at my first away trip in D.C. At CPAC, there seemed to be a club for every issue – gun rights, the Constitution, American-Israel relations, liberty, and more. Although I was an avid target shooter, defender of the Constitution, advocate for Israel, and reverent supporter of liberty, none of the organizations I came across captured me like Network of enlightened Women did.
As my friend and I wandered up to the NeW booth, we were greeted warmly by the NeW ladies and founder Karin Agness. They described the mission of NeW and at that point, my friend and I realized that this organization could serve as a home for the conservative women feeling isolated on campus—including us.
My friend Brittney and I founded NeW at Ohio State to bring conservative women together and to let them know they are not alone. On a campus where the women’s organizations shout the c-word, actively hate men, and encourage androgyny rather than equality between the sexes, it was time to establish a different organization and a different home for the women who felt they did not belong in the women’s movement. These educated women did not want to deny their support for the initial feminist cause of equality, but at the same time, appreciated gentlemen, traditional values, and quite liked being as they were – women – rather than genderless humanoids.
NeW has given me lifelong friends, made me believe that conservative women have a strong place in today’s society as an alternative to feminism, and most importantly, given me the voice of a leader. Each involvement fair, each NeW meeting, and each NeW event, convinces me that more and more women are also finding their “NeW voice,” rather than follow the feminist rhetoric that has been pushed on them as the “only opinion of women.”
As the NeW ladies across America celebrate the Seventh Anniversary this week, I hope they all take time to recognize their impact on society and how strong their voices truly are. Remember that NeW is so much more than a book club – it is a home for conservative women and my home.