In 2005, Rachel’s Network established the Congressional Women’s Networking Initiative (CWNI) to create a collegial atmosphere in which women leaders in Congress could work together to promote issues important to women. Voting records at the time indicated four areas in which women policymakers were more inclined to work together: environment, health, education, and violence against women and children—issues that often most directly affect women and transcend partisan interests. With the election of Nancy Pelosi as the first woman Speaker of the House, the 110th Congress held promise as the first in history to build a collective force to advance these and other issues important to women and families.
From 2005 to 2009, Rachel’s Network grew support for a network for women policymakers through CWNI, including:
- Hosting events for women Members of Congress and legislative staff, in concert with the Center for American Women and Politics, the League of Women Voters, and Harvard University’s Institute of Politics
- Publishing a Congressional Women’s Directory
- Coordinating a Congressional Women’s Roundtable in 2008
- Publishing a report on women’s environmental voting records in Congress, When Women Lead