When I first ran for the DCCC two years ago, I promised to enlist the Democratic Party in recruiting more women to run for office. Having served as President of the National Women’s Political Caucus (SF chapter), having graduated from the Emerge Program, having volunteered for countless campaigns, and having run for office myself a few times, I am uniquely qualified to do this work. I supported a few great women candidates in 2010 and 2011, but I was disappointed at how few women were willing to throw their hats in the ring.
The numbers are surprising. Women comprise only:
– 4 of 11 members of the Board of Supervisors
– None of the citywide executive officers (Mayor, City Attorney, etc.)
– 7 of the incumbents running for re-election on the SF Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC), out of 24 seats
I am going to work hard until we achieve something that resembles parity on the party’s governing board. The DCCC often serves as a proving ground for new candidates, and it’s a great way to get your start in San Francisco politics.
But why do so few women run? What I hear is that politics – particularly in San Francisco – is too nasty, too personal. That the scrutiny is too intense while you’re also holding down a job and holding together a household.
And so this election cycle, I have gathered the women candidates for DCCC into a slate of our own. We call it “Elect Women 2012,” and it includes all 18 of the women candidates, featuring a broad diversity in age, race, sexual orientation, experience and ideology. It includes a former State Senator, one current and two former members of the Board of Supervisors, a School Board member, four elected incumbents, three appointed incumbents, and many other women from a broad range of backgrounds. The idea is that we will support each other through the experience, particularly the women who have never run before. We view each other as colleagues, not as competition. We are out to show that we can disagree without being disagreeable.
And the hope is that San Francisco politics will become less toxic when more of us are elected.
Our slate was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, and we expect even more ink to come! Stay tuned.