Stanford Conference on Women’s Political Empowerment
The Missing Link: Women in Politics
Currently, only 16.8 percent of seats in Congress are held by women, women comprise only 24.5 percent of state legislatures, and only 6 of the nations fifty governors are women. Moreover, in the United States, women are a majority of the electorate but are still vastly underrepresented at the top of the political leadership hierarchy. From an international perspective, the United States’ political makeup is by no means atypical, but as 72nd in the world in its share of women in the lower house of its national legislative body, it ranks only in the middle range. Yet women’s representation has shown to bring much more than an important voice in traditionally labeled “women’s issues” and, when so much is at stake, no society can afford to squander the potential of half its talent pool. Not only is having women’s distinct skills and priorities fully reflected in decision-making positions essential to creating a more productive and collaborative political system, it is also an important step in promoting the diversification of political leadership along all lines, bringing about a redefinition of cultural standards about women and leadership, and empowering the next generation of women political leaders in the United States and around the world.
This year Stanford in Government is happy to present the Stanford Conference on Women’s Political Empowerment on May 7, 2011 at the Li Ka Shing Center. This one-day conference will be open to students, faculty, and community members, and will bring together relevant experts, academics, and political leaders to speak on critical issues in women’s political leadership in the United States. Through this initiative, SIG aims to raise awareness and engage discussion about approaches to pressing for advances in women’s policy issues, breaking down institutional barriers to women’s success in local and national politics, and designing effective and innovative strategies for empowerment.