NCSL Celebrates 30 years of the Women’s Legislative Network


NCSL NewsNetwork Promotes the Participation and Empowerment of Female Legislators

Seattle – Women make up 24.3 percent of all state legislators nationwide, a ratio that has remained constant since 1999. The National Conference of State Legislature’s Women’s Legislative Network (WLN) is celebrating its 30th anniversary at this year’s Legislative Summit in Seattle, beginning Aug. 3.

During the Summit, WLN will host communication skills workshops, roundtable discussions and sessions throughout the week that will promote networking and highlight many key issues female legislators face.

The Women's Legislative Network of NCSL is the professional development organization that includes every female state legislator in the 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The network began when female legislators gathered at NCSL meetings in the late 1970s. It was formally organized in 1985 at the Annual Meeting in Seattle and later became a core program of the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures. The mission of the Women's Legislative Network is to promote the participation, empowerment and leadership of female legislators.

Approximately 1,793 women serve in the 50 state legislatures in the 2015 legislative session. That percentage doesn’t seem particularly high considering that women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population. Just 35 years ago, however, they held only 4 percent of legislative seats. Increasing this number and empowering the existing members is an important part of WLN.

To mark its 30th year, WLN is organizing a clothing drive for the Seattle Dress for Success nonprofit as the Summit’s give-back effort this year. Those attending the Summit are encouraged to donate nearly-new professional or interview-appropriate clothing to help women achieve economic empowerment. Donations will be collected throughout the summit on the 4th level Skybridge at the Washington State Convention Center.

All session information can be found on the summit agenda page of the NCSL website.

All meetings held in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit are open to the press. Registration is required but free to credentialed members of the media. Online registration is open and highly encouraged. Please review NCSL’s media policy before registering.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.