During his 2012 bid for president, Obama’s campaign released an interactive online tool called “The Life of Julia.” This campaign tactic sought to walk users through the life of an “average, middle-class woman,” in hopes of showing how policies would benefit her at every stage of her life. For example, at the age of 18, “The Life of Julia” claims that Obama’s Race to the Top program will help Julia get into a good college, and at 27, Julia will be able to “focus on her career” because the Affordable Care Act will require her employer to cover birth control and preventive care.
At the 2014 NeW National Conference, April Ponnuru (YG Network), Sabrina Schaeffer (Independent Women’s Forum), and Genevieve Wood (The Heritage Foundation) appeared on a panel to debunk the assumptions of “The Life of Julia” campaign.
Ms. Ponnuru kicked off the discussion by stating that:
“Liberals too often misrepresent women. They talk to women from the waist down, whereas conservatives talk to women from the waist up.”
Ms. Ponnuru also addressed the fact that conservatives have also been guilty of misrepresenting women in policy, and, consequently, have room to grow in the area. She mentioned,
“Our task now is to find out what women want, and find conservative solutions.”
Sabrina Schaeffer walked us through the implications of the unnecessary legislation promoted by “The Life of Julia.”
“Extensive legislation is facilitating more lawsuits against women. The Paycheck Fairness Act is not necessary. The goal of public policy is not to produce equal outcomes, but to allow for equal opportunity.”
Ms. Schaeffer further suggested that the most effective way for government to encourage women in every aspect of their personal and professional growth is to give them more ownership of what they do, not claiming it for itself.
Ms. Wood expanded on Ms. Schaeffer’s argument by stating that what women need in the workplace is more flexibility, and, although it feigns to provide just that, the White House in reality is only offering restrictions. Summing up her discourse with a very practical advice, Ms. Wood advised us to:
“keep in mind who you are trying to convince when making your point. The majority of people will agree with what you have to say if you are able to express your views without ending up on the defensive side as conservatives often do.”