SC Women in Leadership Launches Effort to Bring More Women to Elected OfficeAug 23, 2023 12:01PM ● By Barbara Rackes
South Carolina Women in Leadership (SC WIL) recently announced More in 2024, an ambitious yearlong push to recruit women from across the state to run for elected office in the 2024 election cycle and apply to serve on public boards and commissions.
SC WIL’s goal is to triple the number of women filing to run and seeking appointment at all levels of government. The recruitment effort aims to infuse more than 800 more women into the pipeline to public leadership in South Carolina. This follows a decline in the total number of women in the S.C. Legislature after the 2022 election, reversing a decade-long trend of increases.
The More in 2024 recruitment effort calls for citizens across the state to ask women they know to consider seeking elected and appointed office and refer them to SC WIL for training, resources, and information to help them overcome real and perceived social and cultural barriers to leadership. Experience shapes how legislators govern, and women’s experiences undoubtedly are different from men’s. Women need their perspectives included in policy-making decisions.
In addition to their annual signature trainings and events, SC WIL is launching an online, self-paced training course for women with tracks for elected office, appointed office, and campaign volunteers to further support their More in 2024 recruitment efforts.
Prospective female candidates will have access to the evergreen lessons addressing topics relevant to women at all points in their leadership journeys – from evaluating how a run or seeking appointment fits into your life, identifying opportunities to serve, applying or filing, building a campaign team, campaign finance, messaging, media relations, fundraising, and more. Initial lessons for elected office and campaign volunteers have already been released, and additional lessons for these tracks as well as the appointed office track will drop each week throughout the summer.
When women run for political office, they are as likely as men to be elected, but women are less likely to be asked to run, and even when women are recruited, they often believe they aren’t qualified enough. SC WIL is the only organization in South Carolina solely focused on helping women overcome the barriers that keep them from seeking and winning leadership positions at all levels of government.
Women make up 51 percent of South Carolina’s population, but just 15 percent of the state legislature – ranking us 47th in the nation in the proportion of women. We’re working to change that by asking women and supportive men across the state to tell us about potential female candidates they would like to represent them.
SC WIL Executive Director, Kena Dill, is leading the More in 2024 outreach effort and says, “Our core message at SC WIL is simple: women’s voices belong in leadership. That is not happening now in our government. If you agree it’s time for women’s perspectives to be included equally in the 2,000 some elected seats available across the state, not to mention the thousands of public appointed boards and commissions at the local, county, and state level, join our efforts to elect and appoint more women in 2024.”
If you are considering running for office, seeking appointment, or would like to get involved with the More in 2024 recruitment effort as a volunteer or confidentially refer a woman you think should run for elected or appointed office, let SC WIL know at www.scwomenlead.net.
Barbara Rackes is CEO of South Carolina Women in Leadership.