Celebrating Steps Toward Equality; Aiming for Equal Representation

September 10, 2010
A Session of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1880

About the Author: Suzanne Lawrence, a Foreign Service Officer, is the Director of the Office of Policy Coordination and Public Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs and Board member of Executive Women at State (EW@S).

The 2012 Project, a national, non-partisan campaign to increase the number of women in legislative office, is counting the days until November 6, 2012. Election Day 2012 presents an opportunity for women to increase their numbers in office: following the 2010 census, every congressional and state legislative district in the country will be redrawn, and new and open seats will be created.

Former OECD Ambassador and Congresswoman Connie Morella, a member of the 2012 Project, spoke to an audience on September 8th at the Department of State and urged women to consider running for public office. The theme of her presentation meshed perfectly with the event sponsored by Executive Women at State (EW@S) and the Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR) celebrating Women's Equality Day and commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment granting Women the Right to Vote. Morella drew parallels between running for office and working at the Department of State, noting that to be successful in both fields it was essential to "listen, learn, respect and then lead.”

Morella's co-presenter, Deborah Walsh, the Director of the Center for American Women and Politics, emphasized the need for continued education across the political spectrum to draw attention to the importance of women serving in public office. John M. Robinson, the State Department's Director of the Office of Civil Rights, summed up the successful event and thanked the Executive Women at State for organizing this forum as well as many other events, making them one of the “most prolific affinity groups” at the Department of State.

You can read the Presidential Proclamation for Women's Equality Day 2010 here.

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