Women in PA

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.

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.

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

Advancing women’s role in politics is still a work in progress

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on March 4th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By KAREN SHUEY | Staff Writer

In a lot of ways, it’s become a woman’s world. More women than ever before are entering the workforce, they are earning college degrees at a faster pace than men and they are stepping into leadership roles more often.

But you can’t help but notice that women are often missing when you turn on a news conference from Capitol Hill, watch senators debate a bill in Harrisburg or show up to a township supervisors meeting.

And despite the emergence over the past decade of several high-profile women in elected positions — from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin, many local female leaders said it seems politics is still very much a man’s world.

Why? And what does it mean?

 

Data compiled by the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics show that women hold less than 16 percent of the seats in Congress and about 24 percent of the positions in state legislatures.

 

Ninety nations around the world have more women in their national legislature than the United States. Rwanda, Cuba and Sweden are among the countries ranked in the top five.

 

Things don’t look much better at the state level.

Read More at lancasteronline.com

‘Boot camp’ teaches women how to run for political office

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on February 3rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

Nurse practitioner Suzanne Colilla has thought about running for public office.

“I think it’s important for nurses who are bedside experts to have a seat at the table when we talk about health policy issues,” she said.

But trying to win a local election raises a host of questions: How much money do you need to raise? How do you get the support of your party in the primary? How do you run a campaign if you’ve never done it before?

Ms. Colilla and about 40 other women — and a handful of men — spent a recent snowy Saturday in a Chatham University conference room learning just that.

“Ready to Run” is a campaign school aimed at women, a full-day boot camp complete with tips from women elected officials, advice on navigating local party systems, lessons on public speaking and an outline on the basics of fundraising and planning a campaign — plus a big dose of pep talks and confidence-building. The training is sponsored by Chatham’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.

Jennifer Stergion, an attorney from Buffalo, N.Y., said the event attracted her because it is non-partisan and focuses on the practical aspects of a campaign. Other campaign tutorial events she had considered attending in the past were more focused on helping candidates who, for example, were committed to an anti-abortion or abortion rights position.

“This is more of a nuts-and-bolts event and less policy-driven,” Ms. Stergion said.

Indeed, apart from a brief but spirited disagreement between Republican and Democratic panelists over the campaign of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., the day — while filled with talk of politics — was remarkably issue-neutral. Discussions focused on everything from what to expect in a campaign to nitty-gritty details such as how to best speak to a television camera and how to split your time between fundraising and meeting with voters.

“In the current political environment, everything is so divisive. It’s nice to be able to just focus on the mechanics of it,” said Ms. Colilla, of Washington County, who said she learned the most from a panel discussion about Republican and Democratic party infrastructures and how best to approach them.

Pennsylvania generally ranks poorly in terms of its number of women elected officials — 39th nationally. Experts have blamed the state’s low ranking on everything from its highly structured and institutionalized political parties to full-time Legislature, which can make it harder for a working mother to serve in office.

“When we have more women at the table, bipartisanship increases, transparency increases, [new] issues come to light, different perspectives on old issues come to light,” said Dana Brown, executive director of Chatham’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.

Women make up Pa.’s political minority, say gender isn’t issue

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on January 21st, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Tom Fontaine

Women make up about half of the population but remain grossly under-represented in key political offices that shape policy and render legal decisions at the federal, state and local levels, said politicians and political experts.

“It’s been a slow climb here,” said Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, which is hosting a campaign-training seminar for women in Shadyside on Saturday and another one in Philadelphia next month.

Last year’s seminar in Pittsburgh drew about 80 women.

Women hold one of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats and 17 percent of the seats in the state Legislature. One of the state’s seven Supreme Court justices and nine of its 60 Common Pleas president judges are women.

About 38 percent of countywide offices in the 10-county area surrounding Pittsburgh are held by women.

A woman has never represented Pennsylvania as a U.S. senator or governor. Democrat Kathleen Kane in 2012 became the first woman elected state attorney general.

Brown said she thinks 2014 could be a ground-breaking year for Pennsylvania women in politics, noting three are running for governor on the Democratic ticket and at least three of the state’s congressional races could be in play for women, including one featuring New Kensington’s Erin McClelland in the newly constituted 12th District that includes Beaver County and parts of Allegheny, Cambria, Lawrence, Somerset and Washington counties.

Women in politics: moving forward or backward?

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on June 3rd, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

By John Guerriero, Erie Times-News

The speaker stepped to the microphone to address Erie City Council.

“And, you, the city fathers,” the speaker said, stopping short as he made eye contact with then-Councilwoman Joyce Savocchio in the early 1980s. ” … and city mother.”

Savocchio, the first elected councilwoman in the city’s history, encountered another awkward case of gender wordplay when a citizen at a public event asked, “Should we call you mayor or mayoress?”

Read more:  http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20130602%2FNEWS02%2F306029933

Why are Pennsylvania women hard to find in politics?

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on May 13th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — You can’t help but notice it if you attend a House committee hearing, a news conference in the Capitol, or watch senators in session debating a bill: There’s not a lot of women around here.

The Pennsylvania Legislature can seem at times very much a man’s world, with only 17.8 percent of the state’s General Assembly (37 of 203 House members and 8 of 50 senators) composed of women, according to figures compiled by Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.

“That is truly disproportionate in representing the women of the commonwealth,” said Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mount Washington, the lone female representative from Allegheny County. “People are shocked when they hear that number.”

Kathleen Kane says her win ‘expanded the boundaries for women in Pennsylvania’

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on November 12th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News

Standing before a raucous crowd at the Radisson Hotel in Scranton with family members gathered behind her, Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane wrapped up her victory speech on Tuesday night by pointing out ground she broke that night.

More important to her than being the first Democrat to be elected as the state’s attorney general, it was being its first female elected chief law enforcement officer that she took a moment to highlight.

“It is 2012,” Kane said. “I will tell you that we have expanded the boundaries for women in Pennsylvania. … We have made sure that there is no place that we can’t go and there is nothing that we can’t do. We have made sure that we can raise our families and we can have our careers.”

By becoming the first woman to be elected to that statewide office, Kane, a mother of two and former Lackawanna County deputy prosecutor, broke down the door of one of the few remaining offices that a woman has yet to hold in Pennsylvania. The governor’s office and U.S. Senate seats are the others.

Read More at pennlive.com

Pennsylvania Ranks 28 for Equal Pay

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on April 17th, 2012 by admin – 3 Comments

by Mark Nootbaar & Tim Camerato – 90.5 Essential Public Radio

With Equal Pay Day upon us, a new study finds not much has changed since the inception of the event in 1996. On average, women in Pennsylvania make 77.4 cents for every dollar men are paid according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. The number was at 73.8 cents in 1996.

“At that rate we are estimating that the pay gap would not close until over 40 years from now,” said the partnership’s Director of Workplace Fairness Sarah Crawford.

The gap grows for women of color. The study finds African American women are paid 70 cents for every dollar men make, “and that amounts to a loss of over $14,000 per year. And Latino women in the state fare even worse… with pay being 57 cents on the dollar,” said Crawford. That, she said, amounts to $20,000 a year.

Equal Pay Day is held around this time in an effort to show how long into the new year women must work to catch up with what men made in the previous year. The study tries to put a different yardstick to the gap. It estimates that if women made as much as men they would be able to purchase an additional 2,690 gallons of gas or pay mortgage and utilities for an additional eight months.

The Gap Grows for Mothers

The study from the National Partnership for Women and Families reports a “motherhood bias” that goes beyond dropping pay for mothers. “Where women with children are generally paid less than women without children, what we see with men is quite the opposite,” said Crawford. “Men with children actually on average are paid a bit more than their counterparts without children.”

The partnership is pushing for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which the group says would close important loopholes in the nearly half century old Equal Pay Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act was passed in the the U.S. House in each of the last two sessions but fell two votes short in the Senate in 2010. The measure has not come up for a vote this year.

http://www.essentialpublicradio.org/story/2012-04-17/pennsylvania-ranks-28-equal-pay-10825