Women’s Equality Day celebrates women’s right to vote — and women now consistently vote in higher numbers than men in every election. But that level of participation is not the case when it comes to political giving.
So far this cycle, women are giving $.77 cents on the dollar in contributions to federal candidates compared to men, according to analysis of FEC data by Electing Women Research. The “gender giving gap” is fairly consistent among Democratic and Republican donors — with Democratic women donors giving $.79 cents on the dollar compared to Democratic men donors, and Republican women donors giving $.76 cents on the dollar compared to Republican men donors.
The gender giving gap is calculated using the average contribution sizes of all donors’ itemized data in the 2022 cycle reported to the FEC from January 2021 through June 2022.
The gender giving gap exists despite the fact that women make 85 percent of purchasing decisions in the US, according to Forbes. So while women control consumer purchasing outcomes, that’s not the case when it comes to political spending and its influence on elections.
However, there is some good news for Democratic women candidates in our research: the gender giving gap narrows when we examine donations specifically to Democratic women candidates.
Democratic women donors give $.86 cents to Democratic women candidates for every dollar Democratic men donors give to Democratic women candidates. In contrast, Republican women donors give only slightly more to Republican women candidates, at $.79 cents on the dollar, compared to Republican men donors giving to women candidates.
Our findings underscore the importance of women increasing their political giving, especially in support of women candidates. We have identified three races where women nominees in toss-up House districts are being vastly out-raised by their GOP opponents. Support now for these candidates could change the outcome in November:
- Emilia Sykes in Northeast Ohio’s 13th district is a state representative running in a must-win seat against Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, who has contributed over a third of her funds from her own pocket.
- Val Hoyle, Oregon Labor Commissioner and former Oregon representative, is running a competitive race in the 4th district. She’s being outraised 2-to-1 by her Republican opponent Alek Scarlatos in this pivotal toss-up in the Willamette valley.
- Christy Smith, former California State Assemblywoman, is running in the 27th district against Rep. Mike Garcia, a staunch anti-abortion advocate. In 2020, she lost her special election to Garcia — the first time since 1998 that a Republican flipped a California congressional district held by a Democrat. Garcia only won by 333 votes in the general against Smith last election.