The First Political Party Specifically Aimed at Helping Women
The fight for social equality isn’t new for women. In fact, it started in New York 166 years ago. In July 1848, hundreds of women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to launch the women’s rights movement. Still, with all of our nation’s advances in civil rights since that historical moment, women still earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar, 42 million live in poverty and women represent two thirds of the minimum wage workforce.
Last summer, New York failed to pass a bold piece of legislation – the Women’s Equality Act – which sought to establish equal pay for equal work and codify Roe v. Wade, amongst other amendments. And then, a few months later Congress would also fail to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Supreme Court would say companies shouldn’t have to pay for adequate health care for women and so the message became clear: politicians would campaign on women’s issues but fail to enact legislation.
In July 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the formation of the Women’s Equality Party (womensequalityparty.org) and the people behind the campaign were able to get 100,000 signatures collected to put the party on the ballot in November. But there was one last hurdle: get 50,000 votes on the women’s equality line. Bully Pulpit Interactive was brought on to help craft the digital strategy to enact WEP.
BPI worked with a team of experts to bring an electoral solution to a legislative problem by enacting a political party whose sole purpose was to advocate for women’s rights. And together, we determined that first step in the effort to pass WEP was to identify the people we needed in order to win. BPI worked with the campaign to use a predictive model of people who were the most likely to vote the WEP line and then we reached out them with a combination of offline and online media. Modeling also helped isolate irregular voters who would be more prone to vote the line. For example, we worked with the campaign to reach women who were likely movable on pay equity or choice with a high turnout score. Likewise we worked with the campaign to reach women who were likely to be Democrats, but not likely to turn out. And in order to get people invested we gave them a clear call to action: sign up. In just six to seven weeks, the team behind WEP was able to build one of the largest digital supporter files in the state. By having supporters sign up, we asked them to take the first step toward a successful election.
As election day drew near, BPI worked with the campaign team to arm supporters with facts and make it as easy as possible to find where to vote. BPI created a series of infographics, charts and other quick pieces of content to inform supporters and reached women an average of 15 times before election day. As the results came in, we knew it would be extremely close, but it was clear that our targeting and strategy was having an effect on voters — especially those downstate. On November 5, when the results came in, the team behind WEP had reached 50,833 votes to enact the first political party whose sole aim is to help women.