NCSL Women's Legislative Network News for February 2016


Women's Legislative Network


BrendaGilmoreWelcome! As the president of the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL, I wish you the best for 2016.

Please find attached our current newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you informed about women in state legislatures, NCSL meetings and resources and noteworthy news. We will be focusing on some different topics each month; you’ll see information and resources about women in politics in this issue. We welcome news from your state, so please submit any items that you’d like to share with women around the country. Our next topic will be workforce and wage issues.

The mission of the Women’s Legislative Network is to promote the participation, empowerment and leadership of women legislators. The network is bipartisan and includes every female legislator in the states and territories. I hope you will join us at a future event or share your ideas about what you’d like us to work on. I hope you will also turn to NCSL for information and guidance throughout this legislative session, and please contact me personally if I can be of any assistance.

Please be sure to complete the survey below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Brenda Gilmore
State Representative, Tennessee
President, Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL
Email me

NCSL Resources: Women in Politics

Take Our Survey

The Women’s Legislative Network board needs your help as we plan future programs. We’d like to know which policy topics interest you and what kind of professional development you’d like to see offered. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. Thank you! Access the survey here.

Women in State Legislatures 2016

2016Approximately 1,809 women serve in the 50 state legislatures at the beginning of the 2016 legislative session. Women make up 24.5 percent of all state legislators nationwide. This represents little change from the 2015 session's ratio of 24.4 percent. Sixty-three women serve in major legislative leadership positions. Complete information is here.


Women's Legislative Network Goals for Our Future

Pictured at left: Women legislators gather at the 2015 NCSL Legislative Summit to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Legislative Network.

The Women's Legislative Network developed a strategic plan to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2015. After surveying and conducting interviews with members, holding focus groups in four states and conducting a facilitated planning workshop with board members and NCSL staff, the following goals will set a new path for the network’s future.

Expand participation and engagement with the Network
We will work hard in the coming year to engage our members personally and aggressively seek financial support. Our goal is to provide exceptional programs and services that meet our members’ needs.

Prepare women to be more effective legislators
Women in legislatures across the country are policy leaders on a diverse range of issues. We will showcase their expertise as a way to help all our members become more effective legislators on the topics that are important to them and their constituents.

Increase the number of women in state legislative leadership positions
Women legislative leaders share a common bond and a common experience. We will provide specialized training and learning exchanges for leaders and those who want to join their ranks.

Celebrate women legislators
Progress depends in part on inspiration. We will highlight women legislators across the country by celebrating their achievements and sharing their stories.

Provide pathways for more women to serve in state legislatures
The next generation of women legislators needs mentors. We will facilitate opportunities for our members to be an example and provide counsel to women who wish to follow in their footsteps.

Please contact us if you would like to review the complete strategic plan, and if you have ideas or wish to get more involved.

NCSL Capitol Forum Recap

U.S.CapitolThe Women’s Legislative Network hosted a roundtable discussion during the NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C. on December 10. Tennessee Representative Brenda Gilmore, the network president, and South Dakota Representative Kristin Conzet, the network president-elect, led the discussion.

The participants shared some of the issues they expected to work on in the 2016 session, including criminal justice reform, energy development, education funding, wage and leave laws, human trafficking, state budgets, anti-bullying legislation, retirement systems, and substance abuse. The group agreed that they would like the network to continue to be a forum for sharing legislation and ideas.

Representative Gilmore and Representative Conzet asked the participants what they would like to see the network do in the future. Ideas included more facilitated networking; targeted webinars and conference calls; more programming about women in male-dominated political environments; celebrating women politicians; social media training; and connections with international women.

Stay tuned as the network implements these ideas and more!

Contribute to the Women's Legislative Network Time Capsule

The network began collecting reflections from female legislators to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2015. We would still like to hear from you! Please fill out this form to share your thoughts about women in politics and to document your accomplishments.

Women in politics: News from the States

Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus Unveils 2016 Package

The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus has several priorities in 2016, including establishing a law enforcement standards board to certify public safety officers. The caucus also supports legislation to ensure that police commissions have members experienced in civil rights, and to address domestic violence and sex trafficking. More information about the caucus is here, and the full package of bills is here.

Utah's New Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus

Current and former women legislators in Utah have united to found the Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus, named after the first woman elected to a state senate in the nation. The bipartisan caucus will work on issues of common agreement and encourage and train other women in the state who wish to get involved in politics. More information about the caucus is here.

Visit NCSL's list of state women's caucuses here.

Wyoming's Women's Legislative Caucus Hosts Leap Into Leadership

WyomingCaucusThe ninth annual Leap into Leadership will be held on Feb. 25-26, 2016 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Leap Into Leadership is hosted by the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus. The nonpartisan caucus promotes women in the Wyoming legislature through support and leadership development. Award winning journalist and author Brigid Schulte will be the keynote speaker. Event information is here.

Friends of the network

Center for American Women and Politics Launches Reading Project

TeachGirlTo celebrate Presidents’ Day and Women’s History Month, the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) wants kids to hear a great story that teaches an important lesson about leadership. To make sure that happens, CAWP's project Teach a Girl to Lead is asking women lawmakers around the nation to read the story to girls and boys in their districts. We sent a free copy to each woman in Congress, the woman serving in all state legislatures, and all six women governors! After reading the story to children, the elected women will donate their copies to their school libraries. Grace for President tells about a girl who, stunned to discover that all U.S. presidents have been men, decides to kick off her own political career by running for president of her class. She faces off against a popular boy and wins in a surprising way. Grace for President, written by Kelly DiPucchio with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, also provides an introduction to the Electoral College system, as Grace’s classmates are assigned to represent states with varied numbers of electoral votes. More information about the project is here.

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

The Women's Legislative Network Alliance is a partnership program of the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL. The Network Alliance includes individuals from associations, foundations, and corporations who assist the Network by providing consultation and financial support. Numerous opportunities exist to work with women legislators and to contribute to the Network by becoming an Alliance member or sponsoring an event or program. Alliance members are invited to all Network events.

We value corporations that recognize the benefits of the Network, and thank the Alliance members for the contributions they make to women legislators through the Network. If you are interested in becoming an Alliance member, please contact Katie Ziegler, program manager of the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL, at (303) 364-7700.

Network Alliance Chair
Kellie Duhr
Walmart Stores, Inc.

Sponsor: $5,000
Entertainment Software Association
Exxon Mobil
Walmart Stores, Inc.

Partner: $2,500
Ash Grove Cement Company
Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association
State & Federal Communications

Contributor $1,000
Mary Kay Inc.