Many of you know that I am a strong and ardent supporter of women in business.  No need to plant that seed. Actually, this was the primary reason I established Commercial Real Estate Women Tampa Bay: I wanted more women to know success in business (“read earn their own incomes”) by championing their efforts and providing support along the way. To me, the working women I know are agile, thorough and more than competent. Add amazing to the list! Companies large and small are realizing and “admitting” that women are often their most productive employees. (I won’t use this space to rant about unequal pay for comparable work; enough has been documented about that persistent, ongoing fact.)  Rather, I wanted to touch on my 10 year effort to elect women into public office.

I have been a member of the Majority Council of Emily’s List for over 10 years; this is a donation level that provides the seed money for the campaigns; it really does bear fruit.  I love being a member of the MC since it requires very little of my time. I attend a few events here locally, write my check and then watch EL do its magic to germinate the seeds I helped to plant.

Emily’s List is a political action committee (PAC) that helps Democratic women into national, state and public office.  The vision is to be a driving force of change in America. Emily’s List strives to consistently infuse our government with leaders who will drive change. Most importantly, Emily’s list seeks to 1) populate governments across the board with women  2) have government more closely reflect the people it serves and 3) balance the face of government. They accomplish this by raising money collectively and finds, recruits and trains women to run for public office.

Women represent more than 50% of the undergraduate degree recipients, and 50-60% of the advanced degrees conveyed in this country. They are the decision makers for 80% of car buying choices. Women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force. Women are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. Having a higher percentage of women represented in government is a natural progression and this is where Emily’s list comes in.

I hosted an event in my home last month and we had a banner turnout. We raised several thousand dollars and more importantly we initiated and sustained a dynamic conversation about the next round of elections.

Why is something like Emily’s List even necessary? I will relay an anecdote to illustrate this point. My dear friend Joanie attended a conference in Washington DC. The speaker asked how many women owned their own businesses; nearly every hand went up. The next question was how many women received venture capital funding?  No one raised their hand. You know the stats, and they’re pretty depressing: Women get less than five percent of VC funding, despite evidence that women-led tech companies, when venture-backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue than similar male-led companies and have a 35 percent higher return on investment.1

The same holds true for raising campaign money. Emily’s List fills that niche perfectly.

Here is a link to another article that speaks to this point: it’s critical to take INCREMENTAL steps to get women into elected office, even if it’s one terrific woman at a time.

Feel free to email me your thoughts on the subject.


1 @weisul

  1. Kimberly Weisul, Why Don’t Women Get VC Funding editor-at-large