Group seeks to engage women politically

Many women not only work at the office all day, but they also take the kids to the doctor and attend school meetings.

In their daily lives, women deal with the same issues the country faces on a daily basis. Yet there are more than 36 million women of voting age who aren’t even registered to vote.

Many more men than women fail to vote, however. In 1996, according to the Federal Election Commission, nearly 7 million more women than men voted in the general election. Commission statistics show a higher percentage of women have voted than men in every general election since 1982.

“Our message to (women) is, since you already manage everything in your daily life, let’s come out and manage the nation,” said Nancy Bauer, founder of WomenMatter, a nonprofit, nonpartisan national organization geared toward increasing the number of informed female voters.

WomenMatter will host a rally tonight at the University of New Hampshire’s Huddleston Hall in Durham. The goal is mobilizing women to vote in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary. The event, called “Women Matter: The Majority Speaks Across the Nation,” starts at 7 p.m. at the 73 Main St. hall.

Fox News analyst Ellen Ratner and state Rep. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, are among a list of guest speakers who will be part of a “strategy session” at the free event, which is open to the session” at the free event, which is open to the public.

Then, women can go out and vote the next day, Bauer said.

“All the candidates will tell you they’re for motherhood and apple pie, but you have to know the specifics, and this is where the professionals can help,” Bauer said.

The nonpartisan panel of professional women who live and work in New Hampshire will discuss how females can make a difference – all while women have their jobs, kids and lives to attend to at the same time.

Women are being encouraged to get five other women to go with them to the polls. Because New Hampshire has same-day voter registration, this initiative could send thousands of women to the polls and change the dynamics of the election, Bauer said.

Bauer started the voting initiative after the 2000 election when it became clear that voter turnout at the primaries wasn’t good enough.

“And the ones who were (turning out) were already decided on what they wanted to do,” Bauer said. “Our feeling was . . . this was not the America we wanted to see.”

Bauer said her research found that most women aren’t afraid to vote, it’s just that they don’t do it. “We know from the research that they don’t even think about it,” she said.

“Teenagers will tell you that their fathers vote, their fathers pay the tax bills. But when they have to go to the doctor, it’s the mother that gets out of work to take them.”

On the whole, women don’t like speaking up unless they’re experts in something, Bauer said. But they are experts in health care, just by living their daily lives.

“They really are experts, but they don’t see it that way,” she said.

For more information, log onto

Said Bauer, “It’s the only place in the country where you can get information that is unpartisan, unspun and guaranteed to be accurate.”

Karen Spiller can be reached at 594-6446 or