In the News

The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics to hold annual women’s leadership institute June 1-6, 2014

Posted in In the News on June 9th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

PITTSBURGH– The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University will host the annual National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership™ Pennsylvania program, a weeklong intensive institute for women college students from colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania. NEW Leadership 2014 will be held Sunday, June 1, through Friday, June 6, and will bring 35 students from 19 different colleges and universities across Pennsylvania to the Chatham University campus.

The program cultivates the next generation of young women leaders by focusing on the role of women in politics and policy making in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Modeled after a program established by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the institute features such topics as leadership in a diverse society, current and historical approaches to women’s participation in politics, networking with Pennsylvania women leaders, and the development of action skills in advocacy and leadership.

This year’s program is supported in part by a $20,000 grant from the EQT Foundation, which identifies and supports the efforts its our operating regions to produce an abundant and well-trained workforce, a diverse and economically viable business climate, and an environmentally safe and stable infrastructure.

“The EQT Foundation is proud to provide continuing support for Chatham’s National Education for Women’s Leadership Pennsylvania Program,” said Charlene Petrelli, President, EQT Foundation. “At EQT, we hold a strong belief in programs that educate and prepare the future generation of leaders in our operating areas. Opportunities such as this program play a critical role in the economic success of the communities that will be touched by these talented women.”

NEW Leadership 2014 will include a dinner honoring Katie McGinty, a former gubernatorial candidate in the 2014 Democratic Party Primary. Katie served for six years as the head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and was the first woman to hold the position. In 2008, she joined the private sector and now serves as an operating partner of Element Partners, a clean technology private equity firm, and director at Thar Energy, a Pittsburgh based start up company in geothermal energy.

This year’s program will also feature practitioner-in-residence, Valerie McDonald-Roberts. Valerie brings 24 years of diverse governmental experience having served as appointed Allegheny County Manager of the Department of Real Estate, elected Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds, City of Pittsburgh Council Member, and Pittsburgh School Board Member.

As Chief Urban Affairs Officer, Valerie oversees all housing, non-profit and faith-based initiatives of city government, with responsibilities over the Housing Authority, the Commission on Human Relations, and with a particular focus on underserved neighborhoods.

About the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University
The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University is a non–partisan center devoted to fostering women’s public leadership through education, empowerment, and action. The first to focus on women’s political involvement in Pennsylvania, the PCWP integrates disciplinary knowledge, civic education, and coalition building while examining the intersection of women and public policy. The Center conducts candidate and advocacy trainings, offers educational programs in applied politics, and provides timely analysis on women’s issues. The Center is also home to the University’s membership in Project Pericles – a select group of liberal arts colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to promoting participatory citizenship and social responsibility.

The Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy was established in 1998 through the generosity of the Hillman Foundation, Inc. and the Maurice Falk Medical Foundation. It was then reconceived and endowed in 2003, by the Hillman Foundation.

About Chatham University
Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has a long history of commitment to women’s leadership and issues advocacy, and is the alma mater of environmental icon, Rachel Carson. Today, Chatham is recognized as a leader in the field of sustainability, having been named to The Princeton Review’s Green College Guide listing four years in a row, named to Sierra magazines list of top 25 “cool schools” and mentioned in a Forbes article as one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.” Building on these accomplishments, Chatham will open in 2014, the world’s first fully sustainable campuses in higher education, Eden Hall Campus, with completion of the first stage of construction on its 20-year master plan. Rising 19 spots over the past four years in the US News & World Reports Best Colleges rankings, Chatham’s works to prepare its 2,000+ undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of sustainability, health sciences, business and communication, and the arts and sciences.

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Governor post eludes women in Pennsylvania

Posted in In the News on June 9th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Melissa Daniels

Published: Saturday, May 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The first woman to run for governor in Pennsylvania knew she had no shot at victory. And she’d been mired in scandal.

Jennifer Wesner, 80, of Knox in Clarion County was the borough’s mayor in the early 1970s. Then a photographer leaked risque photos of Wesner to national tabloids, from her days as a topless model a decade earlier. Though mortified, Wesner went on to run four campaigns for higher office.

She dove into philanthropy and authored a book on her experiences.

“I would keep running for office, and that’s how I’d get known,” she said. “I became something; I became somebody.”

Wesner’s name has a place in history as the first of seven women to run for governor in Pennsylvania, one of two dozen states where voters never have elected a woman to the office. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Philadelphia and Katie McGinty, a former environmental administrator in state government, lost the Democratic primary on Tuesday to Tom Wolf, a millionaire businessman from York County.

Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which encourages female leadership in politics, said just 35 women governors have served in the nation’s history; five are in office. To Kimmell and other female-candidate advocates, this poses a policy problem.

“When women are at the table, their unique life experiences are being represented,” she said. “It’s not about whether they’re there just because of their gender.”

Dana Brown, executive director at the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, said the primary election was “a mixed bag with a negative outlook” for female candidates. In addition to postponing the possibility of a woman governor until at least 2018, Schwartz’s loss means that when her term in Congress ends, Pennsylvania’s delegation will be all-male — unless one of six female challengers overtakes an incumbent. Women have 99, or 18.5 percent, of the 535 seats in the U.S. Congress, according the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/politics/politicalheadlines/6170816-74/women-female-state#ixzz349x8BFim
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Women Make Few Inroads to the General Assembly in Pennsylvania Politics

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on May 23rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

May 23, 2014
For Immediate Release

PITTSBURGH— When the dust settles from the 2014 Pennsylvania Primary Election, voters will find relatively few women among their choices in the general election this fall. Of the 94 Republican and Democratic women who sought their party’s nomination for state legislative offices in the primaries, 73 were successful and will move on to the general election. This number represents 22.7 percent of the total number of general assembly candidates.

Notably, neither of the two women seeking the Democratic nomination for governor—U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty—came within striking distance of the successful nominee, businessman Tom Wolf. Wolf received a solid 58 percent of the vote in a four-way primary. With Schwartz and McGinty out of the running, Pennsylvania will extend its history of never having had a woman governor. There are also no women candidates for lieutenant governor.

Six women (R1, D5) did capture nominations for the U.S. House of Representatives. The success of these newcomers—Megan Rath (R), Linda Thompson (D), Kerith Strano-Tayler (D), Mary Ellen Balchunis (D), Alanna Hartzok (D), and Erin McClelland (D)—will determine whether or not Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation includes a woman. Schwartz is currently the only woman in the 20-member delegation (both U.S. Senators and 17 of the state’s 18 U.S. Representatives are men). Schwartz chose to seek the gubernatorial nomination rather than a sixth term in Congress.

In the state legislature, 9 of the 13 women seeking nomination for the 25 state senate seats up in 2014 were successful. Incumbents Sen. Lisa Baker (R), Sen. Lisa Boscola (D), and Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D) won, as did current state representatives now seeking a senate seat: Rep. Michele Brooks (R) and Rep. Deberah Kula (D). In the state house, 81 women put their names on the ballot for one of the 203 seats. Of these, 64 (R23, D41) were successful and will proceed to the general.  All but one of the incumbent women in the State House who sought re-election were re-nominated, and they are joined by 31 challengers.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University explains that, “We had hoped more women would be successful in their bids and are now concerned that this could mean Pennsylvania’s already historically-low levels of representation of women in government will be further eroded.”  Today, only 17.8 percent of the state legislature is women and there is only one woman serving as a statewide elected official and one in the congressional delegation. According the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the state ranks 38th in the nation for the percentage of women in the state legislature.

Ms. Brown states, “Research shows that, typically, when women run, they win at the same rates as men. Thus, if the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it still needs more women candidates.” The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) supports women considering seeking elective office with the Ready to Run™ Campaign Training For Women programs. Since 2012, the PCWP has hosted these campaign trainings in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, giving women the education, insights, and skills they need to embark on a successful campaign.

More than 250 women have participated in the Ready to Run™ program in the three years the program has been offered by the PCWP. Additionally, the program had 16 alumnae who filed to run for various elective offices in the 2014 primary election and 10 were victorious. Two Ready to Run alumnae won their nomination for a congressional seat (Erin McClelland (D) and Kerith Strano-Taylor (D)); and 8 alumnae won their races for the state legislature.

The 2014 Pennsylvania General Election is set for Tuesday, November 4.

For more information about the PCWP at Chatham University or Ready to Run™ Campaign Training for Women, please contact Dana Brown, Executive Director at 412-365-2725 or dbrown@chatham.edu.

PA Primaries Hold Over 400 Female Candidates

Posted in In the News on April 28th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

Written by Jordan Krom, Contributing Writer

Pennsylvania’s female legislators and challengers are making a stand in the 2014 primaries; there are over 400 female candidates waiting to view their fate in the polls come May 20.

In the 2014 primary, 1,143 candidates have filed to run. 402 of these candidates are women, or 35 percent. Gubernatorial candidates Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty count themselves among that percentage as two female candidates running for state governor in a state that has never elected a female governor.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, 11 women are vying for seats, with an additional 13 running in the State Senate and 81 running for the State House of Representatives. Among these numbers are 39 incumbents, four current or former office holders seeking a different or higher office, and 64 new candidates. 27% of female candidates associate with the Democratic party and 16% with Republicans, with Democratic-leaning females being fairly common across the country.

The Commonwealth has always had a bit of a shady reputation when it comes to electing women as government representatives. According to Dana Brown, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, only 17.8% of the state legislature are female representatives. She also noted that there is only one woman serving in a statewide elected position (Attorney General Kathleen Kane) and one in the Congressional delegation (Schwartz).

Perhaps depressingly, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University ranks Pennsylvania as the 38th state in the nation for the percentage of women in the state legislature. Compared to the Commonwealth’s 17.8%, Colorado tops the list with 41.0% and Louisiana rounds out the bottom with 11.8%.

Brown added, “Research shows that when women run, they win at the same rates as men. Thus, if the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it needs more women candidates.”

Read More at politicspa.com

Ifill speaks at Pa. Center for Women & Politics conference

Posted in In the News on April 24th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

Gwen Ifill, 2014 Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics, gave a public lecture at the Pittsburgh Women & Politics conference recently.

 

The purpose of the Chair is to bring nationally renowned political leaders, scholars, and activists to Chatham University and the Pittsburgh community to enrich the experiences of students and educate citizens about the role of women in the political process.

 

Ifill is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent and co-anchor for the PBS “NewsHour.” She is also frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections, most recently the Vice Presidential debates during the 2008 and 2004 elections.

 

Ifill joined both Washington Week and  “NewsHour” in 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics. In 2009, Washington Week, with  Ifill, was honored with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. In 2010, Ifill received the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award.

 

Before coming to PBS, she spent five years at NBC News as chief congressional and political correspondent. Ifill joined NBC News from The New York Times where she covered the White House and politics. She also covered national and local affairs for The Washington Post, Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald American. She is the author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” (Doubleday, 2009).

Read More in The New Pittsburgh Courier

 

Pennsylvania 2014 Primaries Feature More Than 400 Women Candidates for Office

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on April 23rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

April 23, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pennsylvania 2014 Primaries Feature More Than 400 Women Candidates for Office

PITTSBURGH—Pennsylvania has never elected a female governor, but in 2014 there are two women vying for the office in the Democratic Primary. These two women—Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery County) and Katie McGinty, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection—join more than 400 other women in pursuing elective office in the state.

Of the 1143 candidates who have filed to run in the 2014 primary, 402 (35 percent) of them are women. Of this number, two (Schwartz and McGinty) have filed for their party’s nomination for Governor, 11 for U.S. House of Representatives (9D, 2R), 13 for State Senate (9D, 4R), and 81 for State House Representative (50D, 31R). These numbers represent 39 incumbents, four current or former officeholders seeking a new or higher office, and 64 new candidates. Another 144 and 151 women are seeking spots on the state’s Democratic and Republican State Committees, respectively. As is fairly typical nationwide, more women candidates for elective office affiliate with the Democratic Party (27 percent) than the Republican Party (16 percent) in the state.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University explains that, “Pennsylvania has had historically-low levels of representation of women in government. Today, only 17.8 percent of the state legislature is women and there is only one woman serving as a statewide elected official and one in the congressional delegation.” According the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the state ranks 38th in the nation for the percentage of women in the state legislature.

Ms. Brown states, “Research shows that when women run, they win at the same rates as men. Thus, if the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it needs more women candidates.” The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) supports women considering seeking elective office with the Ready to Run® Campaign Training For Women programs. Since 2012, the PCWP has hosted these campaign trainings in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, giving women the education, insights, and skills they need to embark on a successful campaign.

More than 250 women have participated in the Ready to Run® program in the three years the program has been offered by the PCWP. Additionally, the program has 23 alumnae who have filed to run in various offices in the 2014 primary election, including incumbent state legislators Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Pittsburgh) and Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Narberth). Eleven alums are running for state legislative positions and five are vying for a congressional seat. The remaining alumnae are getting a start in partisan politics by seeking a spot on their party’s state committee. Voters cast their ballots in this year’s primary elections on May 20th.

For more information about the PCWP at Chatham University or Ready to Run® Campaign Training for Women, please contact Dana Brown, Executive Director at 412-365-2725 or dbrown@chatham.edu.

Those who don’t vote are a plus for Corbett

Posted in In the News on April 16th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

BELEAGUERED incumbent Republican Gov. Corbett hasn’t, for some time now, had much to sing about.

He’s repeatedly ID’d as America’s most vulnerable sitting governor.

His polling numbers are consistently abysmal.

And his communications efforts are almost always defensive – and I mean defensive like at the Alamo.

Read more at philly.com

BELEAGUERED incumbent Republican Gov. Corbett hasn’t, for some time now, had much to sing about.

He’s repeatedly ID’d as America’s most vulnerable sitting governor.

His polling numbers are consistently abysmal.

And his communications efforts are almost always defensive – and I mean defensive like at the Alamo.

But there might be a welcome tune in the piano hanging by a wire over his re-election prospects.And that tune, according to a new analysis of Pennsylvania voter turnout, could turn out to be music to Corbett’s ears.

The Voter Participation Center, a D.C.-based nonpartisan, nonprofit research group, and national Democratic pollster Celinda Lake say the right mix of people not voting is a real plus for Corbett and might decide this year’s election.

Citing off-year election turnout patterns, the center and Lake say nearly 900,000 unmarried women, minority and younger eligible voters could stay home.

That bloc votes Democratic. Women dominate it. And drop-offs happen here.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140416_Those_who_don_t_vote_are_a_plus_for_Corbett.html#Kil2dr8HSDM6q721.99

Forum aims to push more women in politics

Posted in In the News on April 7th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Kate Giammarise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — Two political experts will attempt to answer this perennial question today: how to get more women to run for political office in Pennsylvania?

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, the former CEO of the Women’s Campaign Fund and She Should Run, is no stranger to being the only woman in the room at political gatherings.

“Women must ask other women to run,” said Ms. Bennett of Allentown, Pa., a former congressional candidate. “They must write them checks. And when they lose, they must pick up the phone and say, ‘When are you going to run again?’”

Ms. Bennett and Christine Toretti, a Republican National Committee member, will speak today in Harrisburg about electing more women to office in the Keystone State.

The state historically has had low numbers of women officeholders; it ranks 38th nationally in the total number of women in the state Legislature, according to the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. The legislature is a key body for those interested in increasing women’s representation, not just for its lawmaking role, but because it often serves as a “farm team” for candidates who go on to seek higher political office, experts say.

Pennsylvania’s Legislature — which is a full-time body, highly paid in comparison to other states, and favors incumbency — impacts the structures around it and the overall political ecosystem, Ms. Bennett said.

“Politics is a very well-paid career path here at the state Legislature level. For that reason, it is very competitive for men and very well-entrenched,” she said.

The legislative schedule of several voting days a week and Pennsylvania’s geography can serve as an additional obstacle for women who have young children. “Even where I live, in Indiana, it’s a three-hour drive to Harrisburg,” said Ms. Toretti. “The way it’s structured, it isn’t welcoming for people who have children at home.”

Of the 1,166 candidates who filed to run in the 2014 primary at all levels of government, about 35 percent of them were women, according to a recent preliminary analysis by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics. That includes two women running for governor, 11 for Congress, 13 for state Senate, and 83 for state House. Another 145 Democratic and 153 Republican women are seeking spots on the state committees for their parties, according to the center’s number-crunching.

Read more HERE

Race for lieutenant governor often overlooked in Pennsylvania

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on April 7th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Melissa Daniels

It was the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and Pennsylvania government, like the nation, was in crisis-control mode.

Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker was in Somerset County where Flight 93 went down, heading up emergency management operations. Within nine days, President George W. Bush tapped then-Gov. Tom Ridge for a position that eventually would become secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“It was not a time to dwell on difficulties and emotional challenges,” Schweiker said. “It was time to react, and it was time to deploy, and it was time to fight.”

So, on Oct. 5, 2001, Schweiker fulfilled his job description, the one outlined in Article IV, Section 13 of Pennsylvania’s constitution: He was inaugurated to serve out Ridge’s term as governor.

The lieutenant governor is the commonwealth’s second-in-command and first in the line of succession when the governor can no longer serve. The post requires the officeholder to serve as president of the state Senate and chair of the Board of Pardons. But the race for lieutenant governor operates on a far lower profile than that for Pennsylvania’s chief executive.

Running in the May 20 primary for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket are: former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz of Johnstown; Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski; state Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Canonsburg; Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith; and state Sen. Mike Stack, D-Philadelphia.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno announced on Friday he was dropping out of the race because he didn’t want to go through a protracted court battle regarding a challenge to his nominating petitions.

A February telephone poll of 501 voters by Harper Polling found 48 percent were undecided about the race. It had a margin of error of 4.38 percentage points.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley is running for re-election on Gov. Tom Corbett’s ticket without any primary challenger.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, considers the lieutenant governor’s race to be overlooked.

Read more HERE

Gwen’s Take: Women’s Voices – Three Ways To Get Heard

Posted in In the News on April 7th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

 

I met a member of a dying breed this week. But I had to leave Washington and travel to Pittsburgh to do it.

 

There, on the campus of Chatham University, I made the reacquaintance of Elsie Hillman, who has spent a lifetime in philanthropy and politics. She is a champion of diversity, of women’s leadership and she supports abortion rights.

 

She helped create one of her city’s first informal hospices for people with AIDS.

 

She is also an 88-year-old Republican.

 

Hillman had no reason to remember when I first came to know her. I was a neophyte political reporter during her years as a powerful Republican national committeewoman. Years later, we met again when she chaired the board for WQED, Pittsburgh’s public television station.

 

I was in Pittsburgh to deliver a lecture for the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. The center fosters engagement on all level of state and local politics. (Two women are currently competing for the Keystone State’s democratic gubernatorial nomination, for instance.)

Read More HERE