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Panel Descriptions

Gender Biased Media Coverage

The disparity between male and female presence in today’s media is staggering. Between 1990 and 2005, just 25% of new media jobs created were given to women. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, only 3% of women hold positions of influence and policy-making power among 18 publishing companies, and it shows. Only an average of 27% of all stories on CBS, NBC, and ABC were reported by women in 2006, and according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, women only make up a third of the staff on all newspapers. During the month in which both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama declared their intention to run for presidential office, our country’s top six newspapers ran 59 stories focusing on Obama, and only 36 on Clinton (From Erika Falk’s Women For President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns). The lack of women’s issues present in mainstream news coverage, as well as the election coverage bias that has become increasingly evident as women continue to make political strides will be the topics of this panel. The speakers of this panel will share their experiences and strategies for women’s equality in media.

Women’s Health Policy

The panel will focus on United States domestic policy issues relating to women’s reproductive health. However, the panel is the only one addressing women’s health policy, so it will incorporate some other women-specific health issues beyond strictly “reproductive health.” The discussion will be based on current controversies, with an eye to the future developments. For example, we will discussion questions around what women leaders in the fields of academia, medicine, and non-profit can do to move reproductive policy beyond the current divisive circumstances nationally.

Campaign Finance and Women Candidates

How are female candidates impacted by the current state of campaign finance? Access to both direct and indirect financial  resources is critical during three distinct phases of women’s political careers: deciding to run, winning a nomination and conducting an electoral campaign. Female candidates must fight the incumbency advantage (as most incumbents are male), find a way to plan their family life around campaigns and work within their limited political power in their parties. How can we make the playing field more equitable? To answer this question, we have representatives from two organizations who pull together funding for female candidates and one woman who has been through the experience of running, losing and winning electoral races.

Strategies for Empowerment

Women make up 16.4% of the 112th US Congress, 17.0%, of the Senate, and 16.4% of the House of Representatives. This is an accomplishment for American women in politics and leadership. But it is not enough. Women also make up 50.7% of the United States population. Women are more than half of the country’s population but less than half the voice in its government.

This panel will share their experiences in political leadership and address strategies for women’s political empowerment. The speakers will consider and discuss strategies to:

  • Overcome disproportionate numbers, negative public perception, and cultural stereotyping.
  • Advance pro-women legislation, women’s suffrage, and access to leadership positions in politics.

It is our sincere hope this panel will give participants perspective and tools to empower both themselves and other women to answer the call to careers in political leadership.

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