WDN Kicks Off ‘Women United For’ Initiative

Today, the Women Donors Network (WDN) gathered women from a broad cross section of organizations and communities for a half-day summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss how women will take a leadership role at the grass tops and grass roots levels on the issue of gun violence prevention.

Discussions are being led by elected officials, experts, grassroots activists and those with first-hand experience of gun violence and includes: mother of a Virginia Tech shooting victim, Lori Haas; gunshot victim Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14); Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4), who lost her husband to gun violence; Brina Milikowsky, Mayors Against Illegal Guns; Neera Tanden, President of the Center on American Progress; Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Congressional Black Caucus Chair; Shannon Watts, President & CEO, One Million Moms for Gun Control; Maria Teresa Kumar, President & CEO, VotoLatino; and, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) who represents Newtown, Connecticut, site of the December gun violence tragedy, among other leaders. Congresswomen Speier, McCarthy, and Esty are on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus “Gun Violence Prevention Task Force,” established by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Representatives from President Obama’s White House Anti-gun Violence Prevention Task Force and other anti-gun violence organizations also participated.

WDN also unveiled a new national research survey examining how women view gun violence and what actions they are willing to take to support commonsense policies to end it.

“Women are a majority of the country and a majority of voters. In polling, we learned something unique and important: Women view gun violence differently than men do, they are nearly unanimous in wanting a multi-faceted response to gun violence. Women have enormous potential to change the policies and the politics that can reduce gun violence,” said Donna Hall, President and CEO of the Women Donors Network.

The poll was conducted by the Feldman Group and Chesapeake Beach Consulting from January 27 – 31, 2013. The sample included of a national survey among 1,502 women who voted in the 2012 Presidential election, including a base sample of 1,002 women who voted in 2010, with a separate sample of 500 women who voted in 2008 or registered after 2010 and reported participating in 2012. After weighting, the effective sample is 1,483. The margin of error is ± 2.5% for the full sample and larger for subgroups. Key findings from the research include:

  • Women view gun violence differently than men do.
  • Women believe guns, mental health issues, the media, drugs and poverty all contribute to a culture of violence.
  • For many women, the fear of violence in their homes or communities is a daily reality. Language that is too abstract or legislative distances the speaker from the immediate and personal concerns that women express and worry about.
  • Women are nearly unanimous in support of a multi-faceted response to gun violence.
  • Keeping guns out of the wrong hands is a goal virtually all women share.
  • Women disagree with the NRA that putting armed guards in school is a good, long-term solution to reducing violence.
  • Women want to hear from people who speak their language and share their values and those who have personal experience with gun violence.
  • Women, across party lines, are ready to take action – and are ready to organize each other for change.

“Many polls since the Newtown tragedy have investigated public attitudes toward gun violence. This is the first to focus exclusively on women’s attitudes. The issue of gun violence is personal to them stemming from their experiences at home, their children’s experiences at school, and their neighbor’s experiences in their communities,” said Democratic pollster Diane Feldman, founder and president, The Feldman Group.

Republican pollster Bob Carpenter added, “Republicans ignoring women’s views on gun violence do so at their own peril. Rarely have I seen such unity across the political spectrum,” noted Republican pollster Bob Carpenter. “Women have strong opinions on gun violence, they support common sense solutions to address the problem and they are willing to organize to see it addressed.”

WDN is focused on raising up women leaders at every level of our culture with the ultimate goal of achieving gender parity in the United States. Women United For is a new initiative that WDN has created to advance this cause, and it will be an open and flexible platform. While currently focused on gun violence, the Initiative will evolve and change with time, addressing other critical issues that align with the WDN vision for a fair and just world.

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