Women in PA

Women finding success in statewide judge votes

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on April 14th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

April 12, 2015 12:00 AM

By Chris Potter/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

There are 24 judges sitting on the state Superior Court and Commonwealth Court: 17 of them are women. And depending on the outcome of this year’s Supreme Court race, women could end up holding a majority of elected judgeships on all three statewide appeal courts.

What does that mean for the political status of women in Pennsylvania, where they have a notoriously hard time winning elected office?

“I think it means maybe I should run for Superior Court judge,” said Susan Frietsche, a lawyer with the Women’s Law Project.

Observers cite several reasons for why women have had so much success in such contests. For starters, there’s a steady supply of candidates: Women have made up a majority of law-school graduates since the early 1990s, noted Heather Arnet, who heads the Women and Girls Project.

Judicial candidates also rarely have to overcome the advantages of incumbency, like superior name recognition and fundraising, that officeholders enjoy in other branches of government. (Once elected, incumbent judges only have to run for retention — a straight-up-or-down vote — every 10 years, until they retire or are removed.)

“Female candidates do well in open races, where they aren’t competing against traditional party support,” said Ms. Arnet.

But even in judicial races, that’s more true in some cases than others.

“Pennsylvanians will tell you that women do well in judicial races, but it’s really only on those intermediate statewide courts,” said Dana Brown, executive director of Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.

Women do much worse when running at the county level, she said: Once those seats are considered, women hold just over one in four seats on the Pennsylvania bench — barely an improvement over the legislature, where one in five officeholders are female.

“There’s something unique happening on the statewide level,” Ms. Brown said. “It’s really a puzzle.”

Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Run, she said: Cokie Roberts on the dearth of women in politics

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on April 3rd, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics did Pittsburghers a favor Wednesday by bringing to the city author and journalist Cokie Roberts.

Ms. Roberts — formally Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs Roberts (her brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne,” so she became “Cokie”) — is a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and the author or co-author of five books. From Louisiana, Ms. Roberts’ family was American political royalty. Her father, Hale Boggs, was a U.S. House majority leader and her mother, Lindy Boggs, was a House member for 18 years and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Her topic in a speech was consistent with a goal of the organization that invited her to Pittsburgh, that the United States would benefit from greater participation by women in elected political life at the national, state and local levels. Ms. Roberts quoted Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who said that body “is so much better because of women … they have changed the dynamic of the Senate.” Although women now occupy 20 of the seats in the 100-person chamber, that’s still a small percentage since they make up half the population.

Ms. Roberts noted that Pennsylvania’s record is particularly weak. The state has a 20-member congressional delegation — two senators, 18 House members and none of them female. “Run,” she urged women in the audience.

Read More at the Post-Gazette.com

Pennsylvania has a dearth of female political leaders

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on March 18th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

It is Women’s History Month and we have much to celebrate. Women continue to enlarge their roles as advocates, inventors, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists and scientists — and the list goes on.

But not one woman belongs to Pennsylvania’s 20-member congressional delegation. Only one woman serves in an elected statewide office, Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman governor or U.S. senator. Pennsylvania’s Legislature has plateaued in the proportion of women representing the state at 17.8 percent (45 women out of 253 seats). Only 27 percent of our judges are women. Women make up only 19 percent of municipal executives.

There are bright spots locally in Pittsburgh City Council (four of nine districts are represented by women) and Allegheny County Council (women occupy five of 15 seats, both district and at-large).

These may be surprising statistics to many, given that girls and young women not only have closed the gender gap in educational achievement, they have pulled ahead. According to the U.S. Department of Education, women now are earning nearly 60 percent of bachelor degrees.

Girls and young women also rank ahead of their male counterparts on many indicators of civic engagement, including volunteering, voting and membership in community associations. Higher Education Research Institute surveys show that female college students spend more time than male students helping others in need and take more courses that involve community service. Women are overrepresented in service programs such as AmeriCorps and Teach for America.

These achievements in education and love for public service have not closed the gender gap in electoral politics, however. The Higher Education Research Institute also found that male students were more likely to say they have worked with political organizations and expressed their political opinions by contacting elected officials or members of the media. So, while college women are outperforming college men on a number of civic-engagement measures, they are falling short on turning that engagement into political service.

The relative dearth of women serving in public office and of young women interested in electoral politics is worrisome. And that is why the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University seeks to educate and empower women for public leadership.

Read more at www.post-gazette.com

Ready to Run Helps Women Candidates Prepare for the 2015 Municipal Elections

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on January 22nd, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

PITTSBURGH: To help address historically low levels of representation of women in Pennsylvania government, The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University is holdings its 4th annual Ready to Run™ Campaign Training for Women on Saturday, January 31st at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

According to PCWP data, at the state and local government level women comprise only:

• 17.8 percent of state legislators (representatives and senators)
• 19 percent of municipal executives (e.g. mayors)
• 37.5 percent of county officials (e.g. councilmembers, etc.)
• 35 percent of elected school board members
• 27 percent of the state’s more than 1300 various elected judicial offices

At the same time, there is only one woman serving as a statewide elected official and none at all in the state’s congressional delegation. Research shows that when women run, they win at the same rates as men. If the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it needs more women candidates.

“The 2015 municipal election primary will be held May 19th, and the final day to file to appear on the ballot is March 10th. This is the first step to November, where many local offices are on the ballot in the statewide municipal election. These local elective offices touch so many important aspects of our everyday lives—from education policy to public transportation to taxes. With Ready to Run™, we want to make sure women are ready to take a seat at the table at all levels of government” states PCWP Executive Director, Dana Brown.

The 2015 Ready to Run™ training is $65. This year’s training includes a special pre-conference networking and informational event: “Women of Color in Pennsylvania Politics” from 6-8 p.m. Friday, January 30th, which is included in the cost of the workshop. Information and registration atwww.chatham.edu/readytorun.

The PCWP supports women considering seeking elective office with the Ready to Run™ Campaign Training for Women programs. Since 2012, the PCWP has hosted these bi-partisan campaign trainings in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, giving women with an interest in seeking political office 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 Pennsylvania in the past three years the program has been offered. In 2014 alone, the program had 23 alumnae who sought various offices in the 2014 primary and general elections, including state legislators and several congressional candidates. Many program alumnae pursued a start in partisan politics by seeking a spot on their party’s state committee.

“We know that running for office is not always intuitive, which is why the Ready to Run™ program exists: to demystify the process and give women the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need to be well-prepared for the challenge,” PCWP Executive Director Dana Brown said. “It is a powerful head start.”

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.

Why aren’t more women serving in the PA Legislature

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on January 8th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com 

Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state yet it ranks 39th in the nation for the percentage of women elected to its state Legislature.

Why don’t more women run for Legislature? Here is what some midstate female legislators have to say about that:

Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Cleona, who is beginning her seventh two-year term in the House: “So many things have changed for women over the years. There are more opportunities for women to be effective and develop professionally and choose career paths that were not always available to women. Our job is to make this opportunity at this level in public service more attractive. My concern is women who are highly educated and generally talented and intellectually capable are not choosing to serve.”

Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Lower Allen Twp., a four-term incumbent: “It can be intimidating for women – and men – to run. But in many cases, trying to get women to put their name on the ballot is little more difficult but it’s doable.”

Read more at Pennlive.com

Women Make a Big Difference in Business and Politics

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on November 20th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

A recent online survey conducted by the National Association of the Self-Employed revealed that 86 percent of the women business owners questioned plan to vote today.

As leaders of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship and the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, both at Chatham University’s Women’s Institute, we are not surprised by this statistic. Women in business are keenly interested in government because it impacts both their personal and professional lives.

While the survey is focused on businesswomen, an overall gender gap in voter turnout has characterized every presidential election since 1980. In 2012, 63.7 percent of eligible women in the country voted, compared to 59.8 percent of eligible men, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Candidates know that women have the power to decide elections.

While women are strong performers in the voting booth, they do not run our governments at an equal rate to men. Those who lead us are overwhelmingly white and male. In Pennsylvania’s Legislature and the U.S. Congress, 82 percent of elected leaders are male. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman governor or U.S. senator.

The Women Donors Network found that, of 42,000 elected positions across the nation, ranging from local counties up through Congress, only 29 percent are held by women, even though women make up 51 percent of the population. So, while women have power at the ballot box, it is not translating into power in representation.

This paucity of representation matters. Studies have shown that the presence of women in legislatures makes a difference. Women are more likely to work in a bipartisan manner, more likely to bring new issues to the policy agenda, more likely to use cooperative language in deliberation and more likely to increase government transparency. These effects are believed to result in policy outcomes more inclusive of the entire population.

Meanwhile, the number of women-owned businesses has increased nationally by 68 percent since 1997, a rate one and a half times the national average. The growth of these firms also is higher than that of all other privately held businesses during this time period. Census data nevertheless indicate that, while women-owned businesses represent about 50 percent of privately held companies in the United States, most of them (75 percent) reach only up to $50,000 in annual gross revenues. Only 2.6 percent reported more than $1 million in annual revenues, compared to 6 percent of men-owned firms.

Read More at post-gazette.com

5 reasons why there aren’t more women in politics and business

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on November 20th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, contributed to this article.

The ballots have been cast and counted. The voting polls have been packed up and volunteers have gone back to their day jobs. Political signs are coming down and commentaries are beginning to turn to different topics. But one aspect of politics continues to exist: The paucity of women in elective office.

A study done by the Women Donors Network, a national advocacy organization, notes that of 42,000 elected positions across the nation, ranging from local counties up through Congress, 29 percent of the positions are held by women — even though women make up 51 percent of the population.

The 2014 midterm election garnered attention with notable firsts for women in politics, including the first woman elected to Congress from Iowa (Joni Ernst), the first Republican black woman elected to Congress (Mia Love), and the first time we have 100 women serving in Congress due to a special election in North Carolina (Alma Adams was sworn in on Wednesday).

Yet, the influence and inclusion of women in politics is far from overwhelming.

From politics to business

The reason why the lack of women holding political office is significant is the same reason that the lack of women in the C-suite is significant. When more women hold top positions in politics and business, everyone benefits.

Studies show that women in political office tend to work in more a bipartisan manner and are more likely than their male counterparts to bring new issues and perspectives to the policy agenda. Female elected officials are also known to increase government transparency.

Read More at bizjournals.com

2014 Midterm Leaves Pennsylvania with No Women in Congress

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on November 20th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

PCWP Report: 2014 Midterm Leaves Pennsylvania with No Women in Congress

PITTSBURGH—The Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics (PCWP)at Chatham University reports that in the wake of the 2014-midterm elections, the U.S. Congress has reached an important milestone where 100 women will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives (the first time in U.S. History) and twenty women (a record set in 2012) will likely continue to serve in the U.S. Senate. However, none of these women will be representing the state of Pennsylvania.

A handful of other states also have no women in their delegation, but Pennsylvania is the most populous. The absence of women is counter to a national trend that has seen an increase in the number of women running and winning congressional offices in states all over the country. The 2014 mid-term elections saw Iowa elect its state’s first woman to Congress, Republican Joni Ernst, and in 2012, New Hampshire famously elected an entirely all-female delegation.

While women challenged incumbents in six of the state’s 18 U.S. House Districts, none of them were successful. Democrat Allyson Schwartz, who was the lone woman in the state’s congressional delegation, chose to (unsuccessfully) seek her party’s nomination for governor rather than seek re-election to Congress. Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators are men.

“Unfortunately, Pennsylvania will not be sending any women as part of its congressional delegation to Washington. While women are 51% of the population they will not be present at the congressional table. This matters not just for the sake of democracy, but it may have policy implications, as we know that women bring different perspective to governing,” said Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics Executive Director Dana Brown.

In Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, levels of women’s representation remained stagnant. In the state Senate, three incumbents—Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd), Lisa Boscola (D-18th), and Lisa Baker (R-20th)—retained their seats. Current state representative Michele Brooks (R-17th) successfully ran for an open seat in the senate and a fifth woman, newcomer Camera Bartolotta (R-46th) successfully challenged incumbent Senator Tim Solobay. Five additional women, all Democrats, were defeated in their bids.

In the House, 68 women candidates were on the ballot—42 Democrats, 25 Republicans, and one Libertarian. Of these, the Republican women fared much better, as 22 of the 25 were successful. Brown noted, “While the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf won by a large margin, this support did not translate to Democrats farther down the ballot. Republican candidates in Pennsylvania seem to have continued the trend that we saw nationally, in which female GOP candidates also did well.” Only 14 of the 42 Democrats won their races. As a result, the incoming General Assembly will continue to have one of the lowest levels of women’s representation in the country—a mere 17.8%. There will be nine women in State’s Senate (currently eight) and 36 (currently 37) in the State House.

Brown emphasized the importance of encouraging women of both parties to seek political office, “The key is to have more women candidates running for office at all levels in Pennsylvania. By doing so, PA will have a stronger pipeline of potential women candidates to run for higher office.”

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 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 with an interest in seeking political office the education, insights, and skills they need to embark on a successful campaign. The next training will be held January 31, 2015 at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

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

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.