The Important Role Women Play in Civic Leadership

Throughout history, women have made countless significant contributions to society, but they are often underrepresented in leadership roles. We constantly push for more equitable representation in this area. We encourage many women and women-identifying folks to run for elected roles, explore policy and advocacy positions, and more equity-serving actions, but there is still a long way to go. Women bring a unique perspective to leadership, and their voices are essential to creating a more just and equitable society. 

This Women’s History Month and beyond, we are honoring and celebrating the achievements of women across history and in our current world. Let’s eliminate the boundaries and commit to creating a more inclusive society. Women deserve to have equal opportunities to participate in civic leadership, and in this month’s blog, we’ll cover how we can collectively create a world where all voices are heard and how we can uplift women’s equity and their involvement in civic leadership.

JOIN: Reserve your spot for our exclusive Women’s History Month event, Leadership Without Limits: Defining HERstory Through Accessibility

Why We Need Women in Civic Leadership

More equitable representation
In the United States, women make up just over 50% of the population. Of that number, however, they only hold:

  • 28.2% of seats in the U.S. Congress
  • 32.8% of state legislative seats
  • 25.8% of mayoral positions in cities over 30,000 
  • 34% of mayoral positions for the list of 100 most populous cities in the country

This lack of representation has a number of negative consequences. Without women’s voices, we send the message that women aren’t as capable or qualified to lead. Women bring various perspectives and life experiences to the forefront and this results in a wider range of ideas and approaches in decision-making processes.

Increase diversity leads to increased recognition of issues
Studies have shown that diverse teams make better decisions compared to homogeneous ones and by including women in civic leadership roles, we enhance the quality of governance by tapping into the wealth of knowledge and expertise they possess. 

Women also tend to prioritize issues that are related to healthcare, childcare, education, social welfare, and gender equality and our organization is fully aware that elevating these areas are all essential for equitable societal development. 

How to Increase and Support Women in Civic Leadership

Equitable representation in civic leadership positions helps break down stereotypes and biases about women.  When people see women in positions of leadership, they begin to believe that women are just as capable as men of leading and making important decisions. We encourage women and supporters to:

Run for office
As statistics show, there is a disproportionate amount of women who run for and win roles in office compared to the population of women in this country. At LEE, we have always been strong advocates for women in elected and leadership positions. We are constantly encouraging women to explore their leadership potential and we have a robust system of resources and coaches to guide their path, along with a supportive community of fellow leaders. With LEE’s partnership, 71% of women-identifying LEE members who run for office, win!

Support women who are looking to become civic leaders
It is essential to create a culture of mentorship and empowerment within the community and surround women with the support they need to become impactful leaders. Providing opportunities for women to connect with established leaders in their field, supporting women-led community organizations and advocacy initiatives, championing policy decisions made by women, offering programs to develop leadership skills, and promoting networking events focused on political engagement can help build confidence and expertise.

Donate to women’s political campaigns and leadership initiatives
Donating to women in civic leadership and elected leadership roles is a crucial step towards achieving gender equality and promoting diversity in decision-making roles. By supporting these women financially, you are not only empowering them to lead effectively but also breaking down barriers that have traditionally held women back from entering politics and other leadership spheres. Your donations can be made directly to elected leadership campaigns, along with donations to organizations, causes, programs, networking opportunities, and more that can make a great impact on women involvement in leadership roles. We have a number of LEE members who are currently running elected leadership campaigns. To donate and read more about their run, we encourage you to visit this link.

Volunteer for women’s leadership causes and campaigns
By offering our time, skills, and expertise in various community projects, campaigns, and initiatives, we can support women who are challenging traditional power structures, advocating for marginalized groups, and bringing about positive social change. Volunteering for these women also provides invaluable opportunities for our own networking, skill-building, and personal growth. 

Educate yourself about issues that matter to women
Women candidates tend to have more family- and society-centric issues at the heart of their work. They tend to concentrate on reform in healthcare, educational equity, reproductive rights, early childhood development, positive changes in immigration practices, and more as opposed to their male counterparts. Diving into these issues and understanding why repairing them are crucial to improvement can bring a united perspective with our society’s progress at the forefront.

This month, we’re shining a spotlight on women with disabilities at our Women’s History Month event, Leadership Without Limits: Defining HERstory through Accessibility. This virtual gathering is an engaging discussion about the unique experiences of elected women with disabilities and how to support this community for more accessible and inclusive interests, opportunities, and policies. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 27 at 6 PM ET.

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