By Natalie Morgan
After the arduous election campaign, a newly-elected woman legislator walks through the doors of the statehouse for the first time as a representative of the people.
Most female legislators would concur, the first term is fraught with unforeseen events and unanticipated obstacles, which is why the Women’s Legislative Network is introducing a legislative guidebook.
In the "Wise Women: Legislative Guidebook," we hope to compile the wisdom of experienced women legislators to inform, inspire and involve the next generation of leaders.
This guidebook will feature four categories of advice: empowerment, diversity, collaboration and balance.
- Empowerment: The network wants to empower women legislators to seek leadership roles and advance their agendas.
- Diversity: Whether it is in age, gender, political views, religion, race or socioeconomic status, diversity has a unique ability to provide perspectives on critical issues facing state legislatures.
- Collaboration: Essential to making change in an age of political polarization, the bipartisan Women’s Legislative Network understands the importance of collaboration as legislators learn from one another.
- Balance: Women are often uniquely tasked with balancing the work of the legislature with shifting personal needs. Finding and keeping a healthy balance between the professional, personal and legislative worlds is paramount.
Through each of these categories, the network seeks to inspire and aid new women legislators during their first few terms.
As the network is a professional development organization that includes every female state legislator in the 50 states, U.S. territories and District of Columbia, we know our current members are the best resources to aid incoming women legislators.
This guidebook, however, cannot occur unless we hear from experienced women legislators. Please, visit this online form to learn more about each category and share your advice.
Through the "Wise Women: Legislative Guidebook," the Women’s Legislative Network hopes to take away some of the unknowns and uncertainties during those first few steps through the statehouse.
Natalie Morgan is an intern in NCSL's Member Outreach and Digital Communications division.
Email the Women's Legislative Network.