Jeb Bush speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, March 15, 2013.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Early glance at CPAC speaker list: Where are all the women?


Republicans may have ‘binders full of women,’ as Mitt Romney famously said. But you wouldn’t know it from a glance at an early speakers list of the conservative event of the year. 

Of the confirmed speakers list for the Conservative Policy Action Conference – and presumably the most notable – just four women are listed, while 24 men made the early list. All but three of the confirmed men and women speaking are white, too.

CPAC spokeswoman Meghan Snyder told msnbc that the list will grow, but doesn’t say whether it will add more women or people of color. 

We’re continuing to make updates and I expect we’ll have another one posted soon,” she wrote in an email. “We’ve yet to announce panelists, speakers, and other participants.”

The event’s speaker list has been widely criticized for its diversity—or lack thereof—in past conferences. Of 2012’s nearly 250 confirmed speakers, TheBlaze counted just 71 women a week before the event.

Related: CPAC drops atheist group after backlash

The chosen CPAC speakers are generally the year’s “who’s who” in the Republican Party. This year, the list includes nearly every 2016 possibility, including Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Ryan. 

On the XX-chromosome side of things, there’s CPAC stalwart Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, the tea party’s Jenny Beth Martin, and the chairman of the group that organizes CPAC, American Conservative Union, Carly Fiorina.

While the numbers may not reflect the demographics of the country, they do reflect the party’s struggle with women. In the last general election – where Mitt Romney notably said he’d perused binders full of women while governor of Massachusetts – President Barack Obama won female voters by 12 points, while Romney won men by an eight-point margin. That 20-point gender gap is the largest gender gap that Gallup has ever measured in the 60 years it’s been monitoring it.                       



Early glance at CPAC speaker list: Where are all the women?