In 1993, I first heard of the effort starting here in Connecticut, to actively address the painful disparity found in the percentage of elected women office-holders (14%) compared to the percentage of elected men office-holders (86%). These were the percentages for all elected positions across the United States.
I soon found the dynamic group of women, who were organizing a way to close this gap. Their plan was to increase the number of successfully elected women candidates with an innovative, non-partisan approach. This effort was the right step at the right time… in the right direction.
This non-partisan approach called for creating a five-day campaign training program held on the campus of Yale University. The joint affiliation of both program and site became The Women’s Campaign School (WCS) at Yale University. The program provided an intensely informative campaign overview and also focused on identifying the campaign challenges directly facing women candidates.
Challenges themselves were examined in memorable workshops and training sessions. Workable remedies were offered and examined as well. Woman candidates could turn challenges into winning campaign tools.
At the close of the first WCS five-day program in 1993, the results were deeply satisfying. The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University delivered a valuable and relevant program.
When we fast forward twenty years from 1993, already several hundred women have attended the five-day WCS program, coming because they clearly understand the value and the need for campaign training. No matter which country or which state the attendees come from, they clearly understand that an election campaign must first be won for public service to follow.
It is an honor for WCS to be recognized for its work by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF). For forty years we have looked to CWEALF in Connecticut as a leading voice for women. Since 1973, CWEALF has made its own pioneering effort to create equal opportunity, to create equal access, and to create a level playing field for women in this state. Thank you.
Written by Carolanne Curry. Carolanne is a Founding Board Member of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University and President Emertia.