Welcome to the #5050X2028 Newsletter! We hope you had a wonderful July, whether on the beach, enjoying some Fourth of July fireworks, or reveling in the US Women’s National team’s World Cup celebrations! May August find you in serious summer mode, doing the things you love while the days are long.
50/50 Leaders, in Their Own Words:
As promised, this month we kick off our 50/50 Leaders interview section. We’ll speak with amazing women leaders about what motivates them, how they got from where they were to where they are now, and more.
Our first interviewee is WCF Board Member Maureen Koetz, a sustainability consultant, attorney, and executive. Maureen served in the US Navy, held a Presidential Appointment to the Pentagon as a senior Air Force executive, founded her own consultancy, and was a candidate for her district’s seat in the New York State Assembly.
When were you first interested in politics?
I was a delegate to Girl’s State, sponsored by the American Legion, in junior year of high school, and was elected governor.
What inspired you to work with the Women’s Campaign Fund, and why do you want to see 50/50 representation by 2028?
I met Jamie (WCF Board Member) and Georgia (WCF Board Chair) as a candidate for State Assembly in New York City. Losing the election to a man indicted and convicted for felony corruption right after the election convinced me women needed to be in office.
Who are your “Sheroes”?
Certainly, the Suffragists, and very much the nuns who taught me through grade and high school. I am particularly inspired by Francis Perkins, Janet Reno and other women who blazed the trail in cabinet and other executive branch positions along with women who braved the legislative arena.
What piece of advice would you offer to women looking to get involved?
Secure your network, it’s broader than you think, and looking for you to call upon it.
Name one pearl of political or common ground wisdom you just can’t forget.
Never wrestle with a pig, you get dirty and the pig likes it (a female Marine JAG told me that as a fresh-caught ensign).
What was the funniest thing anyone ever did or said that underestimated your ability as a woman or as a candidate?
While serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, I was invited to a dinner specifically to meet a gentleman whose company sold advanced energy technology. We chatted over a drink and were seated next to each other as dinner; I soon realized he thought I’d been brought along as the “entertainment.” I mentioned that I worked for the United States Air Force, and he asked if I knew “Maureen Koetz.” I smiled very sweetly and explained I was Maureen Koetz...he had the good grace to be slightly mortified but recovered fairly well.
A final question: Describe the world we’ll live in when we get to 50/50 -- in four words or less
Actual performance, accurate metrics.
In the News:
The power of women on the debate stage:
If you spent your Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week glued to your TV to watch the debates, you saw firsthand how crucial it is to have women’s voices represented. Last night, candidates discussed their plans to address the wage gap, sexual harassment at work, violence against women, access to reproductive rights, and the importance of childcare tax credits for working women. In June, candidates spoke at length about a smattering of “women’s issues.” These issues have never featured heavily in primary or general election debates – but that has changed for 2020, a powerful reminder of the importance of having women at the table. And it doesn’t stop with the candidates: the DNC now requires female moderators at every Democratic presidential debate.
Recruiting Republican women:
As the Year of the Woman came rolling into the Capitol last year, one group was left out of the colossal gains realized by women. Democratic women swept the house in 2018, but Republican women lost ground, winning only 13 House seats, a 25-year low.
This dismal fact hasn’t stopped them. Republican women are operating in overdrive, not only to increase their presence in 2020, but to build a deep bench of women candidates. They face struggles both inside and outside Congress to do so. Know a Republican woman you think personifies a bright future for the party at the state or national level? Tell her – and ask her to run! Refer her to a great group like Republican Women for Progress to get real world information that will help her make a great decision.
Wait a minute… could you be that woman?
The times, they are a-changing:
Society has seen a major shift in recent years: according to the American Psychological Association, a majority of Americans now believe that women are just as competent as men. Cue the eye-roll. Yet this study represents a seismic shift in American’s views on gender. In 1946, just 35% thought that men and women were equally intelligent. In 1995, attitudes hadn’t shifted all that dramatically; only 43% saw women and men as equally competent. The good news: last year, 86% believed that men and women are equally competent, a shift ushered in by the increasing role of women in positions of leadership and authority.
50/50 Begins with... you!
What do your friends think about 50/50 representation? How about your kids or any other young people you love? A talk around the table can help raise the expectation of roughly equal representation as the way good government gets done! Visit WCF’s Take the Pledge page and check out our Take Action Toolkit for resources to help you have that conversation. And take the dang Pledge, while you’re at it!