As campaign season gets into high gear there is a lot of emphasis on women – a woman on the top of the GOP ticket, two women in a VERY competitive race for the United States Senate and a number of women running in down ticket races. 2010 has the potential to be a BIG year for women in California politics. That is why the California Women’s State Appointments Project (CWSAP) is so important. Women should have a role and a voice in public policy.
Women are a powerhouse in California, but not just in politics. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) California website, there are 1,351,087 women in California who own businesses and who employ nearly 1.9 million people and generate $318.2 billion in sales. Women bring unique experiences and perspective to gubernatorial administrations, state departments and to boards and commissions that do the state’s work, but we need more women to apply.
CWSAP (www.cawomenlead.org/cwap) is a coalition of women’s organizations committed to empowering, training and recruiting women to apply for an appointment within the new administration. The goal of the project is to present the new governor with resumes of women willing to serve either as high level appointees, paid staff or on volunteer boards and commissions. This nonpartisan project is about engaging women who might not have thought their experiences and expertise can add value to helping put California back on track. And that is what this project is about – helping get California back on track.
Both gubernatorial candidates realize women are the key to deciding who the next governor of California will be – Meg Whitman has her “MegaWoman” campaign focusing on “women from across California and all walks of life who believe in Meg’s inspiring vision.” Jerry Brown boasts that “Brown appointed more women, Asians, Latinos and African-Americans to high government positions than any other chief executive.” Both of the candidates get it and realize that in order for California to succeed, Californians need to step up and serve, especially women.
There are thousands of appointments that the next governor will make. Cabinet Secretaries, State Department heads, staff level positions and thousands of positions on regulatory boards and commissions that help keep the state operating. The goal of this project is to provide opportunities for women to apply and give the new governor and staff options of new ideas and expertise that otherwise they may not have access to. This is about providing a tool to the new administration so that they can “hit the ground running” at a time when there is so much works to be done in the state.
This project is about action, it is about being part of the solution, not part of the problem. For the next several months the fur will fly and posturing will come from all sides. This project provides women, many of whom are frustrated and worried about the direction our state is heading, with a concrete way to be part of the solution.
I have the honor and privilege to meet women around the state who are managing full time jobs, volunteering in their community, taking care of their families and are afraid of the direction our state is headed. These women want to be involved, but don’t know how – that is why we are working so hard to make sure ALL women know there are opportunities to serve and bring their unique perspectives to various agencies, boards and commissions within state government. We are not endorsing applicants, nor are we replacing the process that all potential appointees must go through. This project is about enriching the pool of Californians who want to be engaged in public service. For many women serving in appointed positions is a great way to give back.
So I ask for your help. Help us spread the word that there are opportunities to serve and that we need good women willing to give back and be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Only if we work together can California return to the Golden State it once was.