Politics & Policy

Carly Fiorina Has Earned the Right to Run as a Woman

It was a deft and striking piece of gender display. Carly Fiorina made it clear: She’s running for president as a woman. Last night at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., she delivered what she called “the first major speech of this campaign season by a Republican or a Democrat on the state of women in America.”

Certainly she’s earned the right to run as a woman.

On her way up to the top of a Fortune 50 tech company, Fiorina learned what it’s like when the boss calls you a “token bimbo” or asks you to attend client meetings at the strip club.

Last month, a reporter “asked me if I thought hormones would prevent a woman from serving in the Oval Office,” she said. “Here’s a question for you, ladies. Can you think of an example of when a man’s judgment has been clouded by hormones — including in the Oval Office?”

#related#She sounded like a feminist, focusing on the barriers that remain to women’s achievement. “Fun fact: There are more CEOs named John than there are women. Among those same companies, there are only 19 women for every 100 board members,” she said in remarks, a preview of her speech, that her campaign released earlier. “Eighty-four percent of women strongly agree that women can lead just as effectively as men. Only 43 percent of men agreed with the same statement.”

Myself, I find it hard to get worked up about gender-equity issues of the very rich, but clearly Carly understands her brand: aspirational for women. The gender gap in the 2012 election was not driven by social issues but by economic issues.

Carly Fiorina is at her striking best when she skewers the hypocrisies of the Left:

Being empowered means having a voice. But ideological feminism shuts down conversation — on college campuses and in the media. If you are a man — or a woman — who doesn’t believe the litanies of the Left, then you are “waging a war on women” or you are a “threat to women’s health” or you are variously described as “window dressing” — Joni Ernst — or offensive as a candidate — Carly Fiorina.

Her policy recommendations for women were not especially persuasive: Fewer out-of-wedlock births, over-the-counter-birth control, school choice. And then she stuck in one policy change that throws down the gauntlet to Elizabeth Warren: slamming the way Dodd-Frank financial regulations are starving small-businesses owners — and many women business owners — of the capital they need to grow jobs.

“Today, only 23 percent of women identify with the term ‘feminist.’ Liberal ideas aren’t the answer. Their version of feminism isn’t working. It is time for a new definition,” Fiorina said.

Maybe, but why buy into a word that three-quarters of women reject?

Fiorina is smart, savvy, fun to watch, and good for the GOP.

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