SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — About a decade ago, the actor Mel Gibson starred in a romantic comedy where he portrayed a businessman who emerges from an accident with the uncanny ability to hear what women think.
The Washington Times interviewed women leaders across the country to get their insights on what the 2016 White House contenders need to do to attract female voters.
One theme cropped up repeatedly, and it was best summarized by Carrie Ruud, 63, a Republican and board member of the bipartisan National Foundation of Women Legislators.
“We make the mistake that we only talk to women about one’s issues with family, abortion and education. It’s really not just women’s issues,” Ms. Ruud said.
Women “care about businesses, the economy, especially in the Republican Party. The GOP sometimes fails to speak to women, because the party thinks there are women’s issues,” she added. “We care about all issues. We care about families, but we care about business because the economy affects how our families thrive and survive.
Closing the gender gap is a key deliverable for the GOP in 2016, an election in which each party — Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democrats and Carly Fiorina for the Republicans — boasts a strong female contender for the White House.
Exit polls showed that 53 percent of the voters in the 2012 election were women.
Women backed the Democrat in the last six presidential elections, according to the Gallup organization, which reported that “men favored the Democrat in only two of the last six — 1992 and 1996 — and in only four of the 16 elections since 1952.”
With Ms. Ruud’s advice in mind, here is what the women The Times interviewed said about their favorite issues and candidates.