South Carolina ranks last in the nation for female representation
No women serve in the South Carolina Senate and only 17 serve in the House of Representatives, which has 124 members. And there are no statewide elected women in South Carolina. That’s what prompted the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics to hold a press conference today to call on more women to run for public office in the Palmetto State.
Rep. Jenny Horne, Summerville, and a member of the Institute’s Board, responded to the current statistics. “At 10 percent representation in the General Assembly, South Carolina ranks last in the nation for women in elected office. When I was a page in the South Carolina General Assembly in 1992, there were 22 women in the General Assembly or 12.9 percent. Since 1992, women have lost ground in female representation in the General Assembly. The Institute’s mission is to help reverse this disturbing trend.”
The Institute revealed a plan of action that aims to:
* Triple the number of women running for office in 2012;
* Build a network of outreach personnel to identify capable women in each congressional district;
* Stage 3 advanced training campaign schools in 2010
* Partner with Ready to Run™, a national training initiative of the Center for American Women and Politics at * Rutgers Eagle Institute of Politics, to increase training capacity;
* Launch a Talent Bank in cooperation with Alliance for Women to identify skilled women for nomination to public and private boards; and
* Host the 2010 Leading Women Dinner on April 16, drawing attention to women who have opened political doors.
“It’s regrettable that we’ll start our 2010 legislative session next week with these embarrassing numbers.” says Rep. Walt McLeod, Newberry, who serves on the Board of the Southeastern Institute. “Women make up more than half of our state’s population, yet they are just a fraction of the policy makers in our state legislature. This has a negative impact on the lives of all South Carolinians. We know that women bring positive perspectives to many issues critical to our state.”
Founded in 2008, the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics is focused on three primary goals:
Increase the pool of capable women candidates.
Educate and train women to run and win.
Enhance the visibility of women in leadership roles and change public perception.
The Institute has held six campaign training schools and four major visibility events. It communicates twice each month with more than 20,000 statewide citizens via email.
“Our board is diverse politically, yet we are united on advancing women in political leadership roles,” says Donna Dewitt, Chair of the Institute’s Board and Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network. “We want every woman in South Carolina to have the opportunity to run for elected office, have the tools necessary to do so, and have unprecedented success.”
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