Resolution on Equal Representation in Elected Office and the SCCDP’s Commitment to Improving the Status of Women In Santa Clara County

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WHEREAS, women make up 50% of the population in Santa Clara County but face significant economic disparities, with an average pay difference that is larger than the national wage gap of $.72 for a man’s dollar, with women holding advanced degrees earning roughly $40,000 less than their male counterparts, and 11% of the County’s female population living in poverty and approximately 33% of the homeless population being women and girls , and

WHEREAS, Santa Clara County was at one point known as the Feminist Capital of the World, with Janet Gray Hayes serving as the first woman elected Mayor of a major US city as part of a San Jose City Council with seven women, (including a female vice-mayor) at the same time as the San Jose Chamber of Commerce was led by a woman; as of August, only two women serve on the eleven member San Jose City Council and only one woman serves on the five member County Board of Supervisors; and

WHEREAS, the percentage of women elected to office at the state level in California has steadily declined, with women holding just two of eight statewide Constitutional offices, 30% of the State Senate seats, and 25% of the State Assembly seats, and no woman has ever served as Governor; and

WHEREAS, women hold only 20% of Congressional seats in the US and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that it will take 107 years at the current rate of growth for Congress to have an elected representation that matches the gender demographics of our Nation; and

WHEREAS, research shows that women are substantially less likely to self-select or be recruited for elective office, this gender gap in political ambition persists across generations and over time and that qualified female candidates who are equally or more qualified than men are often seen as less qualified or less viable than male candidates; and WHEREAS, research confirms that the presence of more women in a governing body leads to greater transparency and a focus on progressive policies such as closing the funding and achievement gaps in education, closing gaps or loopholes in contraception coverage and affordable health care, closing the wage gap, and removing obstacles that contribute to poverty of women & children; and

WHEREAS, women more fully can represent the needs, experience and perspective of women and can apply a gender lens to policy areas where women and poverty issues have been underrepresented, such as healthcare, transportation, education and the economy, now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Santa Clara County Democratic Party Central Committee is committed to doubling the number of Democratic women in local elected and appointed office in Santa Clara County by the year 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, through the creation of a Director position on the Executive Board dedicated to working with clubs, Directors and any other interested parties to implement this commitment and to be appointed by the Party Chair, and that this appointment will be made in collaboration with DAWN; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the new Director will also report quarterly on the current status of women both in Santa Clara County public jurisdictions and within the Santa Clara County Democratic Party and lead the compilation and publication of an annual report of the current number and percentage of women in elected office in Santa Clara County and post the report on the Party website and in an electronic communication to all members; and that the new Director will lead this effort by recruiting, training and supporting democratic women seeking public leadership positions in collaboration with the Director of Endorsements and Candidate Recruitment, the Director of Issues, the Director of Political Engagement and DAWN as well as any other interested Party Directors and clubs.