Wednesday, June 11, 2014

“Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women” Summary

On Monday, June 9th, the Barbara Lee Foundation gave a webinar, or a web-based seminar, titled, “Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women.” MWPC and many others tuned in to listen to three experts who presented information regarding how women can help their political campaigns through well-researched strategies. While the studies focused on gubernatorial candidates, the strategies can be applied to other races in an effective way. The webinar covered three major categories: Preparation, Substance and Presentation.
The Preparation chapter emphasizes that it is necessary for women candidates to be confident and repeatedly note their qualifications. Voters need to hear that a woman is qualified in order to consider voting for her. Moreover, this section explained that while men can simply tell audiences their qualifications, women must show that they are experienced. Women should also use being a mother, if that applies, to their own advantage. Instead of allowing voters to doubt their commitment and availability to their new position, women can show that they manage their family and are organized in doing so. This allows them to be viewed as “360-degree candidates,” exemplifying their flexibility and strength organization.
The Substance portion concentrates on a few factors, including qualification versus likability and the balance between the two. Voters will not vote for a woman who is qualified but unlikable, and it is therefore extremely important for women to show their qualifications while remaining likable to potential voters. Additionally, it has been shown that voters believe women candidates are better with issues of education, healthcare, and women’s health, but less qualified when it comes to economic issues. Women must show that they are credible in these fields by establishing themselves as effective problem-solvers. This sections also stresses the importance of contrast ads in order for women to win against their opponents.
Finally, the Presentation section examines how words really do matter when coming from a woman candidate. Moreover, appearance matters. Women must develop an appropriate style to appeal to voters. Also, since voters already believe women candidates to be more honest and ethical than male candidates, women can use this claim to their advantage by exhibiting transparency. Women candidates must also be careful in their campaigns to avoid mistakes. If a mistake is made, though, they should respond quickly with an appropriate answer and third-party people who can vouch for the candidate and her qualifications.
The research in the presentation is comprehensive as well as comprehensible. It is another resource for women running for office, and can help with strategy. For more information, the full report is included in the link below, as well as the Barbara Lee Foundation website.