Attended University St. Joseph’s Women’s Leadership Center Event encouraging women to ‘engage in our community’ with their September 23rd luncheon.
President Rhona Free shared statistics measuring both women’s effectiveness in public roles as well as metrics on the number of times women "speak UP".
Interestingly, her presentation indicated there were differences for national v. local engagement. In national service, there only needs to be a few women members for women’s voices to be heard, in local politics however, women need to be in the majority to speak up equally to men!
So if you thought your voice is represented in local office because there are already women on a governing body, think again. Here is your invitation to participate because increasing the numbers of women, increases the impact of those already there. Another good point the panelists made - women need that invitation!
Additionally, Free highlighted how effective, relative to men, women are in measured ways. The facts showed however while women get more done (passing bills on non-gender related topics), when it comes to bills on women’s issues, women have less effective stats, sadly.
Panelists shared what influenced them to pursue public service highlighting concrete examples from their upbringing. A re-ocurring theme was that many were influenced by the example set by their Mothers community engagement. So while you are a stay-at-home Mom, your role in local civic duty or non-profit boards could have a larger impact than you realize.
Marcia Leclerc, Mayor for the Town Of East Hartford had a piece of sound advice that is valuable whether one considers a second stage career in business or public office: financial understanding is fundamental. “You should always be able to understand a financial budget”. Getting a skilled-UP in that regard will serve you well whichever way life brings you. Here is an option (link)
Lastly, many women’s foray into politics was driven by a passion to make one small change. Rhonit Shoham, who founded many not-for-profits, is an example of this. Her work establishing the Miracle League of CT is impressive. One take away, establishing a 501C does not seem as ominous as once thought. She was able to do it in as little as three weeks! Passionate to make a difference? Want to start a non-profit? Here’s how...