Women and Political Leadership
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As of 2022 women comprise just over a quarter of all members of the US Congress- the highest percentage in U.S. History, but 72nd compared internationally. Why do we have so few women in political office, and what significance could that represent? Some individuals and organizations believe that having women’s voices in the mix is crucial to represent the needs of women, families, and building peace. There are groups who seek out and encourage women to run for office; others want parity to happen naturally or raise cautions about erasing any gender distinctions in an attempt to “make everything the same.” Are there ways that expansion of women in political leadership might complement traditional structures in society? Does holding political office always translate to having political power?
Background Information:While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Women and Political Leadership (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- How have you or women in your life faced challenges in accessing political power and/or holding political office? What are some of the factors involved?
- Describe a powerful woman politician’s leadership moment you’ve experienced. What significance did it have for you?
- What changes around women in politics have you seen over the years? How has that impacted you?
- How can we continue building up women in political leadership? How does this differ on the local, state, and national levels of government
- What are your hopes, concerns, or aspirations for women leaders in politics moving forward?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?