Co-Chairman Speaks At Yale University For Women's Campaign School

Sharon Day - June 11, 2014

From the desk of Co-Chairman Sharon Day: 

On Wednesday morning, I had the privilege of speaking once again at the Women’s Campaign School on the campus of Yale University. It was a privilege to address the 71 students, who are committed to public service and working hard to learn the ins and outs of politics.

I shared with them my own experience in politics: starting out as a precinct committee member in Broward County, Florida, in the 90’s to serving as Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee since 2011. It’s been quite a ride.

I focused my remarks on the importance of getting more women involved in the political process—from running for office to running campaigns.

As I told the students, women today make up an increasingly large share of the workforce. But it’s not reflected in what I’ll call the “elected work force.” Let’s face it—men have just been at this longer. In fact, it wasn’t until 1948 that a woman was elected to the United States Senate for a full term without first having been appointed Senator. That was Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who later became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention.

Of course, I also had to brag on some of our Republican women currently in office. After all, of America’s five female governors, four are Republicans—including the nation’s first Latina governor, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and the nation’s youngest sitting governor, Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

 As I visit with women all across the country I remind them that we are not a coalition to be dealt with or a group to be “out-reached” to. We are 53 percent of the voters and what we need is more seats at the table to have our voices and our solutions heard.

And getting more women into politics doesn’t mean putting pink elephants on websites or patriotic stilettos on posters. It means training and resources and recruitment. It means making sure more women serve in leadership positions—in both parties.  It means making sure as women we are there to mentor and to help other women that choose to run for elected office with both our encouragement and our tangible support.

I also told them that we need to change our thinking about the so-called “women’s vote.” There are so many people who talk about a singular “women’s vote,” but we have more than one vote. We don’t all get together in one big room and cast our one ballot. We have millions of votes—and we vote on a range of issues, from education to national security, from jobs to healthcare.

I concluded my speech with these words, noting how far women have come and what we can do to move forward:

There was a time, in my lifetime, that a campaign school for women was not a thing. We’ve come a long way since those days, but we still have so much further to climb.

I’m thrilled to be among so many fellow female politicos—and I want to challenge you—don’t let it end with you. Persuade your friends, mentor others, encourage your daughters, bring someone with you and pay it forward.

Encourage more women to participate in this program. Share the lessons you’ve learned, and teach others by your example. When you see people treating women like an interest group, remind them—we’re the majority.

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