Rachel’s Network Advisor Debbie Walsh is among the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century recognized by Women’s eNews. The publication cites Walsh for her commitment to “changing the gender profile of those running for office and pushing for more women in every level of government.”
Of the almost 7,400 state legislators in the United States, women make up only about 24 percent of that roster, a share of power that has not changed since 2007. The federal statistics offer a slightly dimmer picture.
These statistics motivate Debbie’s work. As the director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute for Politics, she promotes women’s participation, leadership, and influence in government. CAWP is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation.
Walsh is now tracking the 2016 election cycle, the gendered components of the campaign and the “distinct” possibility that there will be more than one female presidential candidate.
“Over the long term we need to raise a generation of girls who see they can be public leaders,” Walsh said, “and a generation of boys who grow up believing that elected leaders can look like their mothers as well as their fathers.”
CAWP’s initiative, The 2012 Project, in which Rachel’s Network was a partner, spearheaded a non-partisan campaign to increase the number of women in legislative office by identifying and engaging accomplished women and encouraging them to run for Congress and state legislatures in 2012. CAWP’s report, Poised to Run, provided an unprecedented look at how women reach state legislatures and how women’s election to office has changed over time.
Debbie was nominated for 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Rachel’s Network. It’s an honor shared with Rachel’s Network Founder Winsome McIntosh in 2014. All the honorees demonstrate extensive commitments across the spectrum of women’s issues. You can read our interview with Debbie Walsh here.