"Binders full of women" have been the hot political topic of the week. Some observers have lamented that there are many more important things to be talking about -- like job reports, unemployment, Libya.
But when it comes to winning elections, nothing is more important than convincing the largest voting group that you are the man or woman for the job. Women voters, regardless of how we're characterized, are the key to winning elections. So at the end of the day, how to engage women has to be a candidate's priority, rather than saying something silly that's going to alienate them because it's given a glimpse of something in a candidate that hits a sour note.
Women voters have to do their homework, though, to figure out which candidate they should vote for. Time demands can sometime make it difficult to catch each day's headlines, but a new book is ready for you just in time to help out with that!
Martha Burk's Your Voice, Your Vote: The Savvy Woman's Guide to Power, Politics and the Change We Need is an essential pre-election read for women who want to know more about why one vote can be so important and how women's lives will be impacted regardless of who wins the White House. Burk knows what she's talking about -- she is a political psychologist and expert on women's issues, which is no surprise since she is also the former chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations.
Most of us already understand the importance of voting! But Martha's book is about more than making sure you're registered and that you arrive at the correct polling place on November 6. Your Voice, Your Vote is a call to action and a resource for women who want to understand what's really at stake in the 2012 election and beyond, and why women should take a leap and view their political selves in a more powerful way.
For example, in her chapter titled "Who's in Charge? Why Women Should Care," Burk outlines the importance having a majority in Congress. But this isn't Civics 101 -- this chapter digs deeper into who controls the overall agenda and why we should focus on things that aren't as arcane as you might think, like congressional committee chairs. Once you get your head around that, the following chapter, "The Gender Gap -- Women Can Control Any Election," gets you ready to see the process as something that we should be thinking about more than once every four years.
Burk's book is also a great primer on the issues that you think know something about, but would like a little more background on without the spin of cable talking heads, like the Affordable Care Act, why women voters should care about the mortgage/housing crisis, foreign affairs, reproductive health, paid maternity leave, civil rights -- you name it, she's got it in this valuable book.
I know many of us are feeling a little worn down with all the political coverage, but keep these words from Burk in mind, "[O]ne woman can change the world -- but it's easier when we combine our power into a force to be reckoned with." Once you've read Your Voice, Your Vote, you'll be re-energized and ready for the electoral home stretch.
Joanne Bamberger is the author of the Amazon.com bestseller (and her own "binder full of women), Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America, the first book to examine the rise of the political motherhood movement. Joanne, a Washington, D.C.-based writer and political/media analyst, is the founder of the political blog, PunditMom, and the women's online commentary magazine, The Broad Side. You can also find her political commentary at Politico's Arena.