The AAUW Footsteps Project: Elect HER!
"Because Equity is Still an Issue."
For more information: AAUW Fact Sheets and Position Papers on Affirmative Action, Athletics, Education, Managed Care Reform, Reproductive Rights, and Social Security Reform.
Updated: April 18, 2014
- In the News: NY ranks 33rd for women holding state office - The National Conference of State Legislatures released a database earlier this month that tracks the presence of women in state legislatures. The national average is 24 percent, Gannett's Ashley Hupfl reports. The NCSL reports the New York Legislature, which has 213 seats, has 34 women holding seats in the Assembly and 11 women in the Senate this year. That's 21 percent, even though women in New York make up nearly 52 percent of the population.
- AAUW Blog: 3 Reasons Young Women Should Run for Office
- In the News: Gender Pay Gap Tracks With Number of Women in State Legislatures - In those states where the pay gap is widest - Wyoming, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah and Alabama - women occupy an average of 15 percent of seats in the legislature. In places where it is narrowest - the District, Nevada, Maryland, Vermont, New York - they represent 30 percent of the legislature.
- In the News: California's 'Close The Gap' Tour Is Demanding Gender Equality In Politics - The California state legislature has 120 members with 32 seats held by women, around 27 percent, down from 30 percent a decade ago. Close the Gap CA was founded to counter these losses and is conducting a four-city "Stop the Slide" tour during March to coincide with Women's History Month. Women's rights activists and elected officials will be speaking about the "slide" in female representation and encourage women to run for office.
- In the News: Mayor Stephanie Miner to Serve as Keynote Speaker for Elect Her - Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will serve as the keynote speaker for the Elect Her event at Syracuse University on Saturday, April 5. The event is sponsored by the Student Association.
- In the News: America Ranks 98th in the World? The Shocking Dismal Number of Women in Elected Office - Why does the U.S. still have such low numbers compared with the rest of the world?
- In the News: Pols: NY public campaign financing vital to women - More than 160 women who are elected officials or hold other leadership posts have written to New York's top elected officials, all men, urging them to enact public campaign financing.
- In the News: EMILY's List Spotlights Impact of Female Lawmakers With New Initiative - The new initiative, called the Impact Project, will further such efforts by tapping the group's three million members via social media and a series of events in Washington, D.C. EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock said, "Women in Congress lead on all sorts of initiatives and issues, not just women's issues."
- In the News: 13 Female House Challengers Carry the GOP Banner - They have starring roles in their party's expansion strategy for both the House and the GOP's own female ranks. Like male counterparts, they are focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act, rolling back gun control and lowering taxes. Two are in NYS.
- In the News: Old Democratic Name (Nunn) Stakes Bid on Shifting Georgia - Michelle Nunn, the daughter of a former senator, is running for the Senate, testing whether the state's shifting demographics can send a Democrat to Washington.
- In the News: Women of Color Behind the Rise of Female Democrats - Democratic women have gained legislative seats at a much higher rate than Republican women in recent years. To a great extent, the rise of female Democrats is about the rise of Democratic women of color. Although they do not hold office in proportion to their presence in the U.S. population, minority women have advanced in state legislatures.
- In the News: GOP PAC targets young women voters - This week conservatives launched a new political action committee – RightNOW – to encourage conservative women to run for political office.
- In the News: Super PAC Boom Marginalizes Women, Report Says - This week, a new report found that super PACs and other unrestricted political funding groups further marginalize female campaign donors, who continue to be underrepresented and outnumbered by their male counterparts.
- In the News: Report: Less Than One in Four State Legislators are Women - Just under one-fourth of all state legislators are women, a statistic that has not changed in the past five years, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report, the Washington Post's "GovBeat" reports. According to the report, there are 1,783 female state lawmakers, compared with 5,600 men. States with the highest proportion of female lawmakers include Vermont and Colorado, where women make up 41% of each legislature, and Arizona and Minnesota, where women make up 36% and 34% of the legislatures, respectively. NY stands at 22%.
- In the News: Bipartisan group releases plan to fix Voting Rights Act - The bill reinstates oversight lost when the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the decades-old Voting Rights Act in June. In that ruling, the court found that the formula used to identify states whose voting laws still needed to be watched over for fear of discriminatory practices was outdated. In its ruling, the court did not strike down the right of the federal government to oversee changes to local voting laws; it merely struck down the rubric being used. The bill offers new guidelines for which states qualify and was proposed by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) along with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
- In the News: Women are wielding notable influence in Congress - After decades of trying to amass power, several women have vaulted to the top of influential congressional committees, putting them in charge of some of the most consequential legislation being considered on Capitol Hill. “It’s not surprising that every time I’ve passed a piece of legislation, I’ve had a strong Republican woman helping me across the aisle,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a recent interview. “Women are often very good at finding common ground and building bipartisan support.”
- In the News: Wendy Davis, Leticia Van De Putte Aim to Make History in 2014 - In 2014 two Texas Democrats are going for a new kind of history: Winning as an all-female ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.
- In the News: As Fund-Raisers in Congress, Women Break the Cash Ceiling - For decades, female candidates lagged behind their male counterparts in fund-raising, largely because donors, most of them men, did not have faith in their ability to win. Women - the go-to donors for female office seekers - were historically more interested in giving to causes than to candidates. But over the last decade, women running for Congress have raised on average more than their male counterparts, and substantially more in the Senate in election cycles when prominent women like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elizabeth Warren were in the game.
- In the News: Daughters of Famous Politicians Create Media Brands - But a recent crop of political daughters seems at ease with the name-tagging. Emboldened by social media, they're using their lineage - and the Internet - to parlay daughter-of status into media fame.
- In the News: A New Firm Sets Out to Secure Women's Votes for a Vulnerable G.O.P. - After months of deliberating over how to better appeal to Hispanic and other minority voters, some Republicans believe their party is overlooking another dire demographic challenge: women.
- In the News: Election Recap: Unmarried Women Emerge as Key Demographic; Mixed Bag for Ballot Initiatives - On Tuesday, interesting trends emerged from the New Jersey and Virginia governor elections. Unmarried voters, especially women, overwhelmingly favored Virginia Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, contributing to his victory over Ken Cuccinelli (R). Women were also key to the re-election of New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who was able to sweep Barbara Buono (D), in part due to his ability to attract African-American, Hispanic, and women Democratic voters. Six states voted on 31 ballot initiatives. In particular, New Jersey voters passed an AAUW-supported minimum wage increase, and Colorado voters rejected Amendment 66, an AAUW-supported measure that would have changed the state income tax levels to fund K-12 education.
- In the News: 11 Things You Don’t Know About The Senate Sisterhood - Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Mikulski pushed through a government funding bill in January that avoided both a government shutdown and a default on U.S. debt; Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray passed the first Democratic budget in four years; Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer saw through a $105 billion transportation bill and a $12.5 billion water resources bill; Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow got the $955 billion farm bill passed; and all 20 women banded together to see the Violence Against Women Act signed into law. Except for immigration reform, every major bill passed this session has been authored by a woman.
- In the News: Both Parties Working To Mobilize Female Voters, Candidates
- In the News: States May See More Female Governors After 2014 - Women appear poised to crack the state executive branch glass ceiling in 2014, with 36 states holding gubernatorial elections that year. So far, 27 female candidates have filed in a governor's race, and 10 of those candidates are running for an open seat (i.e. the incumbent is not running). Women have historically been vastly underrepresented in the state executive office, with only five current female governors (four of whom are running for re-election).
- In the News: Study Finds College Women Doubt Their Leadership Potential - According to a new report, college women do not have the same desire to “become politically engaged and represent their communities” as men. Furthermore, college women are less likely “to believe that they have the leadership qualities, competitiveness, and social competency that would qualify them for office.” The study concludes that these factors may partly explain the staggering underrepresentation of women in political office. Today, women currently hold 18 percent of the seats in Congress and make up just 17 percent of city mayors.
- In the News: Women seek chance to lead New York cities - In a state infamously governed by “three men in a room,” three women want to take the helm of upstate cities. Rochester and Albany can elect their first female mayors in November, when Lovely Warren and Kathy Sheehan will lead the Democratic ticket in the respective cities. In Syracuse, Stephanie Miner became that city’s first woman mayor four years ago and is seeking re-election without a major-party opponent. If they’re elected, it would mark a historic first for New York: Three of its six largest cities would have women in the mayor’s office.
- Congratulations to the Elect Her-Campus Women Win program for adding 17 new training sites for the 2014 year! Elect Her is a program by AAUW and Running Start that is designed to expand the pipeline of women running for elected office in college and beyond. Elect Her first debuted on nine campuses and will reach 50 sites next year.
- Senate Women Work Across Party Lines to Reopen Government - Even though their gender represents only 20 percent of the Senate, it was a bipartisan group of female senators who led the effort to end the government shutdown. Multiple reports, including praise from some of their male colleagues, credit Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Patty Murray (D-WA) with shaping the negotiations and working across party lines to address ideological concerns in settling the issue.
- In the News: What’s changed for women donors and candidates (and what hasn’t) in one study - A new report from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that more women are getting elected to office, but there has been less progress in women's representation among major campaign donors.
- In the News: Does the Future of the Senate Belong to Generation X? -
Why Sen. Gillibrand’s agenda challenges Senate power brokers on military sexual assault remedy.
The future of the Senate, however, belongs to Gillibrand and her fellow Gen Xers who, according to social scientists, tend to rebel against authority, have little regard for seniority in the workplace, and believe in solving problems immediately—qualities that, especially when possessed by a woman, will jar any observer steeped in the conventions of an earlier generation.
- In the News: Women stepping up to take larger part in government
- In the News: EMILY's List Announces 'Madam President' Campaign
- In the News: the gender gap in political ambition between college women and men.
- In the News: Students Preserved Voting Rights in Last Presidential-Election Cycle, Report Says - Among the accomplishments listed in the report, "College Students and Voting: a Campus Vote Project Perspective," is the registration of more than a million new voters with online tools and social networks. Twelve states offered online registration (Washington State even put registration on Facebook), which tended to draw younger voters, the report says. Turnout among eligible voters age 18 to 29, expected to be lower than it was four years before, was 50 percent, the report says, slightly higher than in 2008.
- In the News: Teens Who Sought Female Moderator Glued to Debates
- In the News: Hassan Sole U.S. Woman Running for Governor
- First Woman to Moderate Presidential Debate in 20 Years
- Why You Should Attend a Town Hall Meeting This Summer
- In the News: Gillibrand works to elect more women
- In the News: How Voter Suppression in 2012 Will Erode Reproductive Rights
- In the News: U.S. WOMEN ON TRACK TO FIELD RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER OF HOUSE CANDIDATES IN FALL ELECTION
- In the News: Before Casting 2012 Ballot, Confront Candidates
- In the News: What Fires Young People's Activism? A New Study Asks Them
- In the News: Senate fails to agree on student-loan-rate freeze
- In the News: Young, In Debt and Unemployed: Why We're Protesting Sallie Mae's Shareholder Meeting
- In the News: Birth-Control Laws Set Bait for 'Millennial' Voters
- In the News: The 16 Percenters: Female Leadership is Stalled and Going Backwards
- In the News: Why Don't We Have More Women in Public Office? Look at Who's Running the Campaigns
- 2011 North Country Election News
- Women in National Govertnmemts, Worldwide, 2011
- AAUW In the News: The AAUW Footsteps Project - Young Women's Politcal Forum - watch the video of women student leaders from Clarkson University in conversation with Addie Jenne Russell, Assemblywoman for the 118th Assembly District of NY. They discuss the opportunities and challenges for young women considering politics, governance and public service as a career path. (April 12, 2011)
- In the News: A Club for the Women Atop the Ladder
- Why We Need More Women's Voices in Congress
- Walking in the Footsteps of… Building Women’s Political Capacity
- The 2012 Project
Why We Need More Women's Voices in Congress:
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The 2012 Project
In response to the growing presence of women running for elected office, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University is launching The 2012 Project, a national, non-partisan campaign to identify and increase the number of women in legislative office. The campaign focuses on women from the baby boomer generation.
AAUW supports closing the political leadership gender gap. AAUW’s Elect Her initiative specifically focuses on increasing the number of women running for public office. Elect Her trains and encourages young women to run for student government and helps women view themselves as political candidates for the future. For more information, click here.
- from AAUW's Washington Update for August 6, 2009
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Walking in the Footsteps of… Building Women’s Political Capacity
There is a classic Maxine cartoon from 2007 which reads, “A female president would only be a good idea if you wanted the country run right for some reason.”
Well, 2010 was not a presidential election year, but it was the first time in 30 years that fewer women went to Washington for the 112th Congress in January. Women lost ground getting into federal office, and we will also see far fewer of our issues come to floor of the House and Senate for discussion, let alone for action.
A report from government watchdog groups shows NYS candidates raised about $246 million for statewide and legislative races in 2010, including nearly $72 million in the gubernatorial campaign. Of that amount, individual contributors accounted for $83 million, businesses or trade associations gave almost $67 million, three times as much as the $21 million from unions. Totals included $25 million in donations from other candidates and almost $14 million from political parties.
So the glass ceiling also has a pretty deep cash barrier. Given these numbers, we have to find ways to indentify and encourage more women to think about running for office, and we have to do it sooner in their political careers. While many women only think about running for office once their families are raised or they retire, that is too late to break into politics and be in the game long enough to get to a high enough level of government to really start effecting change.
So, what can AAUW branches and members do to create a climate where more women consider getting into public life sooner? AAUW-NYS has a new program initiative called “Walking in the Footsteps of…” designed to foster a local climate where women can learn from their political history, find mentors, and encourage talented women they know (or are) to consider appointed or elected office.
The Footsteps project will run through Election Day 2012 (although we hope you will continue efforts beyond that date).
Branches can research the political history of their area to learn about and teach others about the legal and political contributions of local women. (Perhaps you have already done this as part of the NYS Women Biography Project.)
Invite women office holders in your area to a non-partisan meeting to discuss how they got into office, what the barriers and challenges were, and the contributions they make as women. Ask them to create a mentor program for other women thinking about running.
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