September 5, 2018
Southern California, along with much of the nation, is seeing a surge of female candidates on the ballot this upcoming election. GBW’s Geoff Wells and his wife Janet, recently co-hosted a well-attended event with Manhattan Beach Mayor, Amy Howorth in support of a funding organization focused on helping female candidates get into office.
Fund Her, the newly-launched political action committee is dedicated to promoting gender equality at the state capital, where only one in four California legislators are women. Many voters may not realize California’s state legislature has fewer female members today than a decade ago. In this “year of the woman”, political action committees such as Fund Her are working tirelessly to not only restore those lost seats, but achieve gender parity by 2028.
“Getting involved with this group is a great opportunity to lend support to women who want to have a stronger voice in our political process,” said Geoff Wells. “There are a lot of very impressive female candidates running for office this year,” added Wells.
This “pink wave” extends beyond California. A new survey conducted by The Washington Post found more female nominees are running for Congress and for governor than ever before in U.S. history. The data suggests that voters see women as either equally qualified as men or better able to handle the demands of political office involving a wide variety of issues, including law enforcement and foreign affairs. On gender issues, such as reproductive rights, sexual harassment and women’s rights, female candidates had a substantial advantage over male candidates.
In terms of the percentage of women in national legislatures, the U.S. ranks 102 out of 188 in global rankings behind countries like Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan. The U.S House of Representatives has just under 20 percent of women in its seats while only 22 percent of women make up The Senate.
“I’m seeing a lot of enthusiasm and energy surrounding the issue of gender equality in our government, it’s great to help play a role in making history,” said Wells.
Fund Her currently backs 13 female candidates who if elected in November, would significantly impact California politics, delivering eight legislative seat gains for women (increasing female representation from 25 percent to 32 percent) and sending California’s first woman Lieutenant Governor to Sacramento.
Fund Her launched in November 2017 and has seen early success: four of the last five members sworn into the State Legislature are progressive women supported by Fund Her, and ten of their eleven endorsees advanced in the June 5th primary. Building on those successes, the organization is expanding their program to include statewide candidates. The first of these endorsements is Eleni Kounalakis, a former US Ambassador to Hungary who would be California’s first female Lieutenant Governor.