Emily Vietti

New partnership will help prepare women for public service

Thu, 05/07/2020

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — A first-of-its-kind partnership is launching in Kansas to encourage more women to serve in civic leadership roles, including both appointed and elected positions.

Ready to Run at the University of Kansas’s Institute for Leadership Studies and the Women’s Foundation’s Appointments Project will launch the Women’s Leadership Series with three webinars beginning at noon Tuesday, May 12. The webinar series, titled “Pathways to Service 2020: Finding your Civic Voice,” is designed to engage and prepare Kansas women to lead and serve their communities through civic leadership.

“Research shows us that women typically need to be asked several times before they run for political office,” said Mary Banwart, director of the KU Institute for Leadership Studies, “We hope to make that ask of more women and, through these programs, help them build the confidence and the skillset that they need to serve in civic leadership roles in their communities and in Kansas.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that when women lead, everyone wins,” said Wendy Doyle, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation. “We created the Appointments Project because we recognized that women weren’t just underrepresented in elected leadership roles, they were also being passed over for influential appointed positions as well. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the KU Institute for Leadership Studies on this first-of-its-kind initiative that will expand opportunities for aspiring women leaders and take us one step closer to closing the leadership gap once and for all.”

The webinars will feature leading women’s voices and key thought leaders who strive to bring parity and diversity to civic and elected positions in the state of Kansas. The webinar schedule is below:

Amplifying Women’s Voices: Representation & Civic Leadership

May 12, noon-1 p.m.

Women’s Voices on Civic Boards & Commissions: Appointments Project 

May 19, noon-1 p.m.

Taking your Voice Online: Designing a Digital Campaign

May 21, noon-1 p.m.

Participants can register online.

“Kansas is built on a rich history of women’s civic leadership at all levels of our social fabric, and a bright future for our state will depend on their leadership driving our social, civic and economic engines,” said Sandy Praeger, former Kansas insurance commissioner and a member of the Women’s Leadership Series Advisory Board. “The Women’s Leadership Series recognizes that women are underrepresented in both elected and appointed leadership roles – and we must do more to build better representation at all civic and elected levels. I’m proud to be supporting this partnership that will yield meaningful and long-term results for women, families and all Kansans.”

The partnership marks the first time that Ready to Run , a national network of nonpartisan campaign training programs committed to electing more women to public office, has partnered with an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in appointed leadership roles. 

“When women’s voices are heard, everyone benefits – and that’s what this first-of-its-kind partnership is all about,” said Kay Barnes, former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, and a member of the Women’s Leadership Series Advisory Board. “I know from my own experience how difficult it can be for women to break down these barriers. By empowering more women to serve in these leadership roles – both elected and appointed – we can make government more reflective of and responsive to the communities it serves.”

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