Welcome to the September edition of the #5050X2028 Newsletter! With the Equinox this week, fall is officially upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited for spiced cider, sweater weather, and election season. We hope that, like us, you’re enjoying these first days of fall and settling into PSL (pumpkin spice latte) season.
In the News
Women are INNOVATIVE, even if Forbes doesn’t recognize it.
You may have seen the recent outrage over Forbes’ 100 Most Innovative Leaders in America list. In a big yikes, Forbes’ list of 100 leaders included just one woman. Yep, that’s right: according to Forbes, just 1% of our most innovative leaders are women. And women weren’t the only people left off Forbes’ list: it also included just three Latinx people (all men), and no black people.
We call bull****. We know that you do, too. Thankfully, so did a lot of other people, women and men alike. TIME Magazine’s editor-at-large noted on Twitter that there are twice as many men named Stanley on the list than women of any name -- and there are only two Stanleys on the list.
So we’re taking it upon ourselves to highlight some amazing, innovative women. First up: Sallie Krawcheck.
Sallie Krawcheck built an impressive resume on Wall Street, serving in top positions at Citigroup and Bank of America. Known as one of the most senior women on Wall Street, she simultaneously worked to change the culture of the finance industry, and was dubbed “the last honest analyst” by Fortune. After leaving Wall Street in 2011, she acquired and now chairs the Ellevate Network, a community of professional women dedicated to helping each other achieve their professional goals. Ellevate offers small, dedicated networking groups and provides over 900 in-person and online events annually, professional development resources, and more.
Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, an investment company designed specifically to help women reach their investing goals and to close the gender money gap (Ellevest is open to all, and has clients of all genders). Ellevest made significant waves in the financial services industry in just its first three years. The industry tries to increase its appeal to women, but these efforts are mostly superficial: advertising that includes women, pink business cards, and the like. Krawcheck offers an entirely different model built to support women’s financial goals. Rather than marketing differently to attract women, Krawcheck is investing differently, with a model that’s focused on financial goal targets (rather than trying to outperform the market) and tailored recommendations based on gender-specific salary curves, gender differences in lifespan and financial needs, and client goals.
Innovative? Oh yeah.
What innovative woman leader do you admire? Drop us a line on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or respond to this email! We’ll feature one (or more!) of these women on our social media channels in the coming days.
Vote for the Woman Because She’s a Woman
Alright, we might be stealing the article’s title, but it’s spot on. TIME published an incredible piece by Caitlin Moscatello making the case for women in office because they’re women. Americans often eschew identity politics. Yet you might want to consider voting for a woman because of her gender for some very good reasons. Studies show that women in Congress are generally more effective than their male colleagues, have more staff in their district offices, are more likely to serve on committees focused on priority issues for their district, co-sponsor more legislation that helps their constituents, and bring more federal money to their districts. Men often run for office because it’s something they’ve always wanted to do. Women are more likely to run to create social change or get more involved in their communities. “In many instances, men run for office to be something while women run to do something,” says Moscatello.
Need yet another compelling reason? How are we going to get to #5050x2028 if we don’t elect more women?!
Reflecting on the legacy of Cokie Roberts
The Internet has been full of tributes to legendary political reporter Cokie Roberts since her passing last week. Cokie Roberts was the daughter of two members of Congress, Rep. Hale Boggs and Rep. Lindy Boggs, Louisiana’s first Congresswoman and the first woman to preside over a major party convention (1976's Democratic National Convention in New York City). Roberts got her start with NPR as its congressional correspondent in the late 1970s, only a few years after the organization’s founding. Her work earned her a reputation as one of the “founding mothers of NPR.” In the span of her fifty-year career, she worked at NPR, PBS, and ABC, winning many prestigious awards and breaking boundaries for women in journalism.
Most importantly, Roberts used her clout to lift her fellow female journalists up with her. Friend and colleague, Madhulika Sikka, reminds us, in a touching Washington Post tribute, “She didn’t knock down the ladder behind her — she reached out her hand to help the rest of us climb it.” As we reflect on Roberts’ passing, let us continue her legacy by empowering the women around us. Check out our Empower a Woman toolkit.
Talk to you soon!
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!
More to Come...
Welcome to the first edition of our #5050x2028 Newsletter! Here, we’ll keep you updated on the latest news about getting to 50/50, WCF events and activity, and more! Today, we’ll update you on how we’ll get from here to our vision for the future, and what we’ll be up to in the coming weeks. Then stay tuned for our next edition, where we’ll include fun content -- and introduce interviews with some of the game-changing people in our circles!
So why 50/50, why now? Check out the video below from Jamie Covello, one of the extraordinary women on our Board.
How we got here & where we’re going:
We’re proud of our 40+ years of success helping outstanding women get elected to office. Even after landmark advances in 2018, women still hold only 23% of elected offices at the federal level in the U.S., and about 28% at the state level. And we’re actually slipping behind countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and China in that regard on the world stage. America has a lot of work to do! That’s why we’re committed to achieving 50/50 representation in elected offices nationwide by 2028.
WCF sees elected women facing unprecedented challenges as they work to advance issues vital to women, men, and families. We see them struggle to implement common sense agendas and maintain common ground. WCF realized in the last election cycle that fewer and fewer Republican women were running for office, and found that unacceptable. So in 2017, we adopted a bold new approach. Rather than move the needle on specific issues, we decided to strengthen the platform on which all issues and rights are decided.
The women we support:
WCF works on the big picture, to support leaders on a variety of issues, while making sure elected government is stronger in the most basic way: that it benefits from 50/50 representation, men and women, just like the population. Not a quota. A common sense reflection of the way we live today.
When 100% of America is represented by 100% of our available talent, wisdom and skill, we have a stronger foundation for figuring out what’s in the best interest of all. When more of the people we elect are common ground experts, we can make better policy. Better laws. Be better represented in the decisions that shape our lives.
Who do we support? Not just any women. WCF supports women with strength in three areas:
- Commitment to work for 50/50 representation,
- Demonstrated ability to reach common ground solutions, and
- Personal, professional, and political viability for election.
What’s coming your way:
We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand new, interactive way to explore what it will take to turn America's conversation about men and women into better government. Using VoiceVoice, a powerful conversation platform, we now connect people all over the country to talk with each other in small groups about 50/50 representation in elected government . This isn’t a webinar, or your average video conference. It is a live, “kitchen table” conversation with half a dozen other people. Interested? Learn more or register for a conversation below. Start your conversation as soon as next week!
Next: Keep an eye out for updates on our summer activities! WCF may be coming to a city near you! Or you can bring WCF to your neighborhood, circle of friends, or other group.
Updates from the frontlines:
The Year of the Woman in 2018 was an amazing moment -- women made huge gains, running and winning in record numbers. We’re inspired -- and we hope you are, too, because we still have a lot of work to do! First, we have to uphold the gains we made in 2018. Even with them, the US ranks 78th globally in women’s representation in legislatures. Some sources also say 75th. If we continue to elect women at the current rate, we’ll see 50/50 representation in 100 or 200 years -- but we aren’t willing to wait, and we know you aren’t either.
We know that it makes sense for women to be represented in elected office in numbers roughly the same as men. Yet examples close to home have been hard to come by. That all changed this January, when Nevada seated the first majority-female state legislature in US history. They’ve rattled the old way and made progress on many issues affecting not just women and girls, but Arizonans overall. That said, more than 17 pending bills deal with sexual assault, sex trafficking and sexual misconduct, and legislation is in the works to ban child marriage and examine the causes of maternal mortality. Best news yet: women representatives on both sides of the aisle are finding common ground with one another for the good of all.
That sounds a lot like the future we want to live in -- and we know we can count on your support to help us get there. Want to show your commitment to make 50/50 representation a reality? Add your name to our 50/50 Pledge!
That's all the news for today. Look out for more updates soon!