Time for women to lean in for parity in public office

— appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune on October 29, 2013

Washington has long been a leader in women’s equity. Women were given the right to vote here in 1910 – 10 years before the 19th Amendment’s ratification. In 1926, Seattle Mayor Bertha Knight Landes became the first woman to lead a major American city. Dixy Lee Ray became one of the nation’s first female governors.

More recently, in 2004, Washington became the first state to elect all women – Gov. Christine Gregoire and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell – to the state’s top three offices.

None of this happened by accident.

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What’s the dirty little secret women are confronted with each day?


Guest blogger Betsy Goldberg

According to political consultant Cathy Allen of the Connections Group, it’s a lack of confidence. Allen addressed the topic of “Confidence…How to Get it & How to Keep It” in front of a crowded room of nearly 40 women in downtown Seattle May 1. The session was the latest topic of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington’s Smart Women Salon Series.
Allen told the group that the number-one reason why women don’t run for office or strive to be CEOs is lack of confidence. “Why don’t we have that self-confidence that makes us want to achieve more?” she asked, noting that women’s lack of confidence can be traced back at least 600 years. “We are always going to be our worst enemies and our best critics.”

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Interview with Sue Rahr, King County’s First Female Sheriff

Sue Rahr served as the first woman King County Sheriff from 2007 through 2012.

Q - Tell us a little about your experience going into the King County Sheriff’s department as a woman in the late 1970’s.

A - I began my career with the King County Sheriff’s Office in the late 70’s when there were very, very few women working as regular patrol officers on the street. The policing profession was not quite ready. My first “locker room” was a closet that I could only access by walking through the men’s locker room. Six years later we had adequate locker rooms, but I had to work the streets until the fifth month of my pregnancy because the administration couldn’t figure out what to do with me as I wasn’t technically ‘sick or injured.” Most of the men I worked with on the street only wanted to know that I would work just as hard as they did, be brave, and carry my weight. The veteran commanders were not in a position to see this. However, over time, most of them came around.

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Women losing ground in Washington Legislature and statewide offices

Published as OpEd in the Seattle Times on 12/18/12

This election was poised to be another Year of the Woman. Redistricting opened up several new competitive seats and high voter turnout created a favorable election environment for women to run and win.

We came close — 65 women ran for state legislative seats and 37 won. But it wasn’t enough to overcome 12 women retirements. Washington once led the nation with just over 40 percent of our Legislature composed of women. Today, we’ve slid to just 32 percent, and in January that number will slide down even further to 30 percent.

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Work Smart, Get Organized!

"We are multitasking our brains out."

Elizabeth Bowman, President of Innovatively Organized, began Tuesday’s Smart Women Salon with this astute observation. She explained that, more and more, we are getting information and assignments from many sources. Replying to emails consumes the better part of our day, our digital devices keep overflowing with notifications, papers piled high on desks — it is no wonder that upwards of 40% of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night.

"I am tired of seeing people burning out," Bowman remarks that this fact drove her to start Innovatively Organized, a Seattle-based productivity consulting firm that helps overextended executives and teams become more effective. At the Smart Women Salon, Bowman shared valuable tools and suggestions to integrate into daily habits. Often, small changes will result in big differences. An extra hour gained could be the difference between leaving work on time or getting home late.

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Communicate your personal brand through your wardrobe

"If you are your own brand, then your wardrobe is your logo."

Darcey Howard introduced this fundamental–and yet often overlooked–concept at the Smart Women Salon, put on by the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington. The Salon’s theme urged attendees to “Be Intentional–Be Your Brand.”

So, how does one be a brand, and what does that mean, anyway?

Professional speaker and entrepreneur Darcey Howard explains it as the image that you communicate to your audience. A brand is an intentional representation of who you are and what your goals are to create a greater sense of authenticity and confidence. It is more than simply managing a wardrobe; it speaks to originality and ownership of how you look in conjunction with who you are communicating your unique attributes to.

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(Source: nwpcwa.com)