Mount Co-Hosts Inspiration and Action Day to Bolster Women in Politics
Sept. 12, 2011 -- Mount Saint Mary’s University is teaming with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University and the group's 2012 Project, as well as California Women Lead, in a nonpartisan effort to get more women elected to public office.
Inspiration and Action, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Mount's Chalon Campus, supports a national drive begun by the Rutgers University project several months ago. Research shows that women need more convincing to go into politics than men, says CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. "Women are more likely than men to need to be asked to run. We are reaching out to women across different sectors – health care, business, real estate, engineering – who haven't thought about running for office but should."
Since 1994, Walsh's group has tracked almost no growth in the number of women running for and being elected to office. Today, 83 percent of Congress is male, and 76 percent of state legislators are men. "This was a moment to say, ‘Let's try something different.' We can start a movement of recruitment of women from all different types of backgrounds to run for office. We want to begin to develop generations of women who believe that politics is a place for them," she says.
The event aims to inspire women to run for office with the message: don't get mad, get elected. Headlining the day are former California state legislators Gwen Moore, a Democrat, and Lynn Daucher, a Republican. The morning will examine the status of women in elective office, the reasons why women do and don't run for public office – and why it matters. Discussions also will highlight the skills women use every day that teach them how to be successful candidates and elected officials.
The event is one stop of many planned in the coming months by California Women Lead, a group dedicated to increasing the number of women seeking public office on water boards, city councils, supervisorial districts and state legislative offices. "The more women who run for office, the more women will get elected and have more impact on issues pertaining to job creation, flexible work days and providing opportunities for women to advance in different industries that are typically dominated by men," said Rachel Michelin, the group's executive director.
"Only 27 percent of the seats in the California state legislature are women," Michelin added. "Twenty-seven percent isn't good enough. We could wake up one morning and find that we don't have any strong women leaders because we haven't developed a farm team of women to continue stepping into those roles."
"This event fits in perfectly with the Mount's commitment to education, leadership and service in a women-centered environment," said Mount President Ann McElaney-Johnson. "Holding elected office is a powerful way for women to transform their communities."
The Chalon Campus is located at 12001 Chalon Road, Los Angeles 90049. A $10 fee for the day includes parking and refreshments. More information: Call 213.477.2761, or www.msmc.la.edu/inspiration.