NCSL Women's Legislative Network News for October 2016


Women's Legislative Network


Hello to my fellow female legislators and friends,
Kristin ConzetI am honored to serve as the president of the Women’s Legislative Network. I look forward to implementing programs and activities that meet your interests and help you do your jobs better. Please contact me with your ideas!

The network had a successful week of events at the Legislative Summit in Chicago, which you can read about below. I enjoyed meeting legislators from many states and from around the world.

I know that most of us are in the midst of a tremendously busy campaign season. I wish you all the best in the coming months. If there is any information or resources that you need before the January start of most legislative sessions, please turn to NCSL and contact me personally if we can be of assistance. The network will be tracking the numbers of women elected, so stay tuned for a data update in November.

Best wishes, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kristin Conzet
State Representative, South Dakota
President, Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL

NCSL Resources

Summit Recap

The Women’s Legislative Network had a busy week at the Summit in Chicago. The executive board meeting featured preliminary planning for 2017. Read a blog post about our social media workshop, and review Maura Devine and Julie Tappendorf’s presentations.

Board GroupThe policy roundtable session, our reception, and our lunch were forums for female legislators to talk about issues and make new friends. The session about Women and Wages featured a thoughtful discussion about wage equity policies and the experiences of small business owners. Review resources from that session.

Members of the network board, l-r: Alabama Representative Laura Hall (D), Montana Senator JP Pomnichowski (D), Arizona Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R), South Dakota Representative Kristin Conzet (R), Massachusetts Senator Harriette Chandler (D). At podium: Tennessee Representative Brenda Gilmore (D).

NCSL Capitol Forum

ForumRegistration is open for the NCSL Capitol Forum, Dec. 6-9, in Washington, D.C. The Women’s Legislative Network will host a roundtable discussion and election recap to discuss women in politics. Our complete schedule will be available shortly. Read about the meeting and register.



Women in State Legislatures: Election Preview

BallotThere are approximately 1,805 women serving in the 50 state legislatures in 2016, making up 24.4 percent of all legislators. That’s a ratio that hasn’t changed in the last several election cycles. There are 61 women serve in major legislative leadership roles, and there are four female speakers of the House and nine female Senate presidents. Review NCSL’s data about women, and our interactive map.

NCSL will be tracking the numbers of women elected on Nov. 8 to determine whether the nationwide share of female legislators crosses the 25 percent threshold. Visit the NCSL blog for the latest data about women running for office, and find complete election information here.

State Visits in 2017

The Women’s Legislative Network wants to reach more women on their home turf, and so we will begin a series of visits to state capitals in 2017. We’d love to host a lunch and program for the women legislators in your state, either during the session or after adjournment. Contact Katie Ziegler for more information and to get your state on the calendar.

NCSL Resolution in Support of Recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

At the Legislative Summit in Chicago, NCSL considered and passed a resolution urging the federal government to formally recognize, in the year 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution “urges that the federal government establish a formal recognition committee or commission to commemorate and celebrate the 19th Amendment and women’s voting rights. NCSL believes that this committee or commission should have, among its various responsibilities, the duty to recognize this great achievement by identifying and appropriately honoring state suffragists and the places and events within the states where women organized for change and equal rights.” Read the full text.

Senate Bill 3073 in the U.S. Congress authorizes the creation of a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. It was introduced in June.

New York has launched a statewide collaborative effort to recognize the anniversary of the state’s passage of women’s suffrage in 1917 and to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The New York Women’s Suffrage Centennial will “produce a statewide conversation that celebrates the accomplishments of the past while helping us become a more just and equitable society for all.” The program will offer:

  • Grants to support tax-exempt groups reflecting on this legacy and rich history.
  • New women's history and rights themes added to the New York Council for the Humanities’ direct programs.
  • Coordinated cultural heritage tourism amongst sites of significance in New York state.
  • Educational programs and events in communities across the state.

Nominations are Open for the Women in Politics Making a Difference Awards

The Women in Politics Making a Difference Awards will recognize outstanding women over the course of the year. The Network will profile women who are making their marks in their legislatures and communities. We invite you to nominate a woman who inspires you. Read about the Spring 2016 winners.

Friends of the network


Thank You to Our Sponsors!

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. For more information, contact Katie Ziegler.

Sponsor: $5,000
Exxon Mobil
Professional Beauty Association

Partner: $2,500
Entertainment Software Association
Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association

Contributor $1,000
Ash Grove Cement Company
Mary Kay Inc.

Sharing Our Views: From an Alliance Sponsor

The National Association of Manufacturers Honors Three Toyota Women Engineers

Toyota Production Manager Rhonda Gilyard and General Manager Susann Kazunas were named 2015 STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award honorees by the National Association of Manufacturers. In addition, Toyota Engineer Jacquelyn Birdsall was recognized as an Emerging Leader.

The STEP Award was established in 2012 to celebrate women who have demonstrated STEP excellence in manufacturing. Honorees are nominated by their peers for making significant achievements in manufacturing through increased revenue, cost reduction, productivity improvements, customer satisfaction and employee development.

Rhonda Gilyard

Gilyard joined Toyota in 2000 as a quality engineer at its TABC manufacturing plant in Long Beach, Calif. Gilyard was promoted to assistant manager in 2006, assuming responsibility for quality inspection including Paint, Truck Bed, Stamping, Bodyweld and Catalyst. She became manager of TABC’s Quality Division in 2010 and has been the manager of Overall Production at TABC since 2013.

Susann Kazunas

Kazunas joined TMMK in 1998 as a production engineering specialist in the Stamping department where she also served as an assistant manager in multiple roles. She was promoted to stamping skilled trades manager in 2006 and later rotated to production manager. In 2010, Kazunas was promoted to assistant general manager at TMMK Body Operations where she had responsibility for Stamping and Body Weld. She is currently stamping general manager at TEMA with responsibility for Stamping, Die Engineering and new model introduction.

Jacquelyn Birdsall

Birdsall joined Toyota in 2012 as an engineer in the Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle group of TTC in Torrance, Calif., specializing in hydrogen infrastructure and high-pressure hydrogen systems. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in 2007 and is a candidate for a Master of Science degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California, Davis.