Thanks to all of you who attended our annual meeting last weekend. While 2014 wasn’t a banner year for women, we are looking to ramp up our efforts in 2015 and build the much-needed support in preparation for 2016, a big election year.
More than 50 attendees learned more about NWPC-WA’s success in 2014. Highlights include tripling the PAC and giving away more than $29,000. We added a ‘Men for Women’ event that raised more than $7,000, formed our Diversity Committee, held our most successful training event to date with one-third of participants of color and continued to collaborate with EMILY’s List, the Win With Women PAC, Washington Democrats and Mainstream Republicans.
We had a robust agenda at the January 11 meeting with two guest speakers: lobbyist Pam Crone, who provided a 2015 legislative preview; and Deanna Dawson, executive director, Sound Cities Association, who shared her experience as a woman in government and encouraged smart thinking around women interested in running for office and currently in office. Women electeds in attendance included Stephanie Wright, Snohomish City Council; Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Edmonds City Council; and Shelley Kloba, Kirkland City Council.
Looking ahead, we know there is more work to be done. It is critical to elect more women and build true parity at all levels of government. The numbers in our government today are disturbing: women in leadership positions have reached only 25 percent, and women make up 35 percent of the house Democratic caucus. Washington used to lead the nation with women holding more than 40 percent of the seats in the legislature.
We know that when we elect more women, issues like reproductive parity, health care, education, childcare and family planning are front and center. It's clear that if we aren't at the table, things don't get done.
In a survey released this month by the Pew Research Center on women and leadership, “when it comes to characteristics that apply specifically to political and business leadership, most Americans don’t distinguish between men and women. But among those who do draw distinctions, women are perceived to have a clear advantage over men in some key areas.”
There is nothing more important to this caucus than empowering women to lead in politics. Together with the Board of Directors, our members and community supporters, we will continue to build the pipeline of women and look to our surrounding community in Washington state to stand up and lead on critical issues.
Want to get more involved? We need your help! Join us at our monthly meetings. Our first meeting of 2015 will be held at 1809 7th Avenue on Tuesday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m.