If you thought your vote didn’t count…

A new source of in-depth data and analysis about unmarried women and what’s known as the “Rising American Electorate” is now available at Voter Participation Data Center. It’s interesting and puzzling to see from the graphic (below) that so many single women did not vote—even ones who were registered—in recent elections. What’s up with that?

 

There are 57 million unmarried women in America today—and by the time the 2016 election rolls around, they’ll be a majority of voting-eligible women. The Voter Participation Data Center aggregates research on the social, economic, and political lives of unmarried women, giving a complete picture of the ways in which they’ll shape our economy and our policies in the decades to come. It’s got demographic and economic profiles of unmarried women and analysis on the recent legal and electoral developments that most affect the lives of unmarried women—including paid sick leave, equal pay, workplace fairness, and the Affordable Care Act.

 

The Voter Participation Data Center puts out all this data in the form of shareable graphics that encapsulate it in a quickly-readable and easily-digestible form, making it easy for you to make your friends, family, and political leaders aware of how important unmarried women are going to be in the coming decades—and how important it’ll be for political leaders to speak to their needs and concerns.

 

Registration and Voting Rates in 2012
Voter Participation Data Center is intended to serve as a one-stop shop for anyone interested in understanding unmarried women—who, along with people of color and millennials, form the Rising American Electorate who may cast a majority of the votes in 2016.

 

Just in time for Single Working Women’s Week this August 2 through 8, 2015.

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A “Single Working Women’s Week” meditation

It’s a candle kind of morning. Dawn came gray, then suddenly lit by a strange light, then darkened with heavy layers of cloud. I love the morning. So peaceful. So full of possibility…

Started reading The Artist’s Way last week. It’s a book that’s been calling to me for years, since I first heard someone talking about it. It’s a book that—should you accept this mission—forces you to think. About things you may not have wanted to think. About things you may not have bothered to think much—like what do you  really want to do  with your life? Things like what did you like and what didn’t you like about your childhood…stuff that you may have already—if you’re over 50 like me—thought enough about, thank you, and have no desire to revisit.

Rebel Yell
Creative Commons License photo credit: Rohit Chhiber

An interesting exercise. List five lives you would have liked to have led if you didn’t lead the one you have. My list came fairly easily—rock singer, motivational speaker, painter, biologist/physicist, lawyer. Then the next part asks what can you do in your life to honor that part of yourself? Hmmm.

I realized that I’ve unwittingly been doing something significant during my present life to include some aspect of all those other dream lives. It was a curiously gratifying feeling.

Rock singer – For thirty years I’ve been known as the “crazy lady in the back who sings” in the aerobics-to-music class. It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to sing and “dance” that way.

Motivational speaker – I’ve been been invited to do many presentations over the years of my career. For each one I’ve always done my best to inject my passion about the subject and my wish to share important information. Takes a lot of work, can be a little nerve-wracking (depending on the audience), but it’s a powerfully satisfying feeling when I know I’ve reached the minds and/or hearts of those to whom I speak.

Painter – I loved to draw when I was a child. I dreamed of being an artist, but my parents firmly discouraged me and suggested something sensible for making a living. While I was married and raising my kids, I was fortunate to be able to study drawing and watercolor painting. Talk about a lot of work! Talk about nerve-wracking—having my first one-woman show was the most frightening and exhausting experience of my life. Even though I am an excellent salesperson, I’m much better at selling other people’s stuff. It’s weird when it’s your own work out there. Anyway, I’m happy to say I sold many of my paintings, and I’m pleased to say I still have a few on my own walls.

Biologist/physicist – I had an immensely inspiring nun teach me sophomore biology. She was a powerful example of a single woman who wasn’t afraid to exercise her individuality. How she got away with it as one in the order of nuns of  the Blessed Virgin Mary that taught us is beyond me. Suffice it to say, when I got to my first college biology class, I realized this was going to be way too much work. Still I read voraciously about pscyhology and metaphysics, and then branched into actual physics for the layman. I am passionate about the subject. And 30 years after that failed biology class, I became involved in writing to the Cleveland Clinic development department, and the flame of my interest was rekindled. I started writing a blog about bioscience, BioMedNews.org.

Lawyer – Ah, this one’s tricky. My very first job out of high school was as a legal secretary for the second largest patent law firm in the city of Chicago at the time. I loved the whole “lawyer” thing, loved their intelligence, their command of the English language. What I didn’t like was the way they seemed to view me as a second-class person, not worth their time or attention. I had come out of an all-girls Catholic high school where you were judged on your performance alone. By the way, it’s an experience I’d still recommend for any girl who’s been held down or made to feel less important than the males in her family or who needs to get out of her own teenage hormones and focus on her work.

Anyway, I ended up marrying a law clerk who worked at the firm—we actually had arguments about the meaning and use of words. What fun for a writer and a lawyer! I adore courtroom dramas (think I’ve seen every passable one ever made). And I write medical-issue-related blogs for a wonderful public-service-spirited attorney. Writing Mesothelioma-Advice.org lets me exercise my understanding of using language properly in a legal context. All interstingly gratifying exercises for my legal tendencies.

Now during this special holiday, Single Working Women’s Week, maybe it’s a good time to ask yourself those questions. What five lives would you like to have led if you didn’t lead the one you’re leading? And what are you doing now to honor those parts of your soul?

I hope you like your answers. And if you don’t, this is the perfect week to imagine into being some new ways to have fun with your dream lives. My way of bringing my painter back to life now is to join the Art Museum. I’ll be scheduling monthly visits with my sketchbook.

I’m wondering if being single lets us honor more of all our parts? Has it been true for you?
Creative Commons License photo credit: Rohit Chhiber

What if you could have an expert advisor for everyday issues?

I’ve been thinking about the wonderful expertise our presenters will be sharing with you online at our conference this year. I don’t think there’s a single one of these sessions that doesn’t have something to offer me–a middle-aged (well, maybe a little more than that), long-time single divorced mom/grandmom in her own business. But you don’t need to be single OR in business for yourself to get real help. We decided to call the conference “Secrets You Wish Your Mom Told You“–because most likely your mom had no clue about these things.

Even though I’m at the top of the proverbial hill (I refuse to be seen going over it), I really need to learn a secret for using networking to gain personal power. I’m terrible at networking. How about you? And as bold as I am sometimes, I would love to learn a new way to turn off my fears. I’m excited at the very idea of learning how to easily package my own existing skills and talents to make money online–even just a little. Could you use some extra money for what you already do? These are the kinds of learning you can get from these presenters.

I urge you to take a look at these classes. Read the program descriptions. Read the presenter bios–these women are top professionals, but they’re also real-live women like you and me. They face some of the same junk we do everyday. But they’ve got powerful ideas for getting past or around or through the muck. Read, think and come get inspired–we’ve extended the earlybird pricing until July 27, so don’t wait.

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A bank that's listening

Sat next to an extraordinary woman today. Linda Stevenson almost single-handedly got National City Bank to believe that supporting women as business owners was not only a socially valuable idea (we are so excited about that!) but also a financially sound idea in terms of building business for the bank. Impressive accomplishment—and kudos to the guiding lights at Nat City for opening their minds. Will be inviting her to appear on www.swwan.org/swwan_dive/ soon.

We happened to be sitting next to each other at the Chicago WeDo event—a seminar on Intellectual Property co-sponsored by National City and a number of other companies that strongly support women in business. Met a number of dynamic women business owners, learned about things you should know when your business gets beyond the kitchen table (and maybe before!) including how to think about expanding revenue streams by licensing.

It’s enlightening to hear legal and accounting people talk about business planning—perspectives many of us don’t think about when we first get rolling. But a recent seminar at another bank-sponsored event was titled, “Begin with the end in mind.” So if you want to have a business that can get bigger than just paying the bills, you’ll want to think about these things. Check out the National City WeDo tour.

And, oh, yeah, if you’re a woman in the Chicago area interested in starting or growing your business and want to talk to a banker, call Meghan Kearns at National City, 773.252.7140.

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Single women: reach out and give without asking back

Give with your whole heart. Don’t ask for a return. Connect with each other–for business, for all the things we need in life.

That’s what celebrants at last night’s opening event heard from keynote speaker Sharan Tash, owner of The ProNetworker, Inc., NAWBO Chicago director, NSA speaker, and creator of the “pay-it-forward, boomerang networking” concept. Sharan told of how giving from the heart without thought of return always comes back to you tenfold.

As a shining example of practice-what-you-preach, Sharan, SWWAN thanks you for inspiring attendees at this celebration of the first annual Single Working Women’s Week holiday.

Hostess Monica Davis praised single women and single mothers for all they contribute. Thanks to all those who shared in this delightful evening, including sponsors Lynfred Winery and National City Bank. Special thanks to Rebecca Gutermuth, designer of the beautiful SWWAN jewelry line, who hosted the party at her lovely store, Radiance Fine Jewelry.

And special thanks to columnist and authoress Jacquee Thomas whose contributions made the event extra special. Passionate speaking, wine, food, violins, and sharing. It was a beautiful event. For a copy of the event’s program, click here. Photos will be posted as soon as we can get them up!

If you live in Cleveland, please join us for our Cleveland SWWAN party TOMORROW!

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