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Balancing the voice of power: Being heard and igniting change in the time of Trump

The ACT EMILY's List Action Group hosted virtual event on July 24, with special guests from EMILY's List USA sharing their experiences and insights of getting women into office.

EMILY’s List Australia CoConvenor Sharon Clayton MP, introduced the event by reminding us that the work of EMILY's List helps determine who is in government. Its important for the stories they tell, who listens to them and believes them. Work that turns struggle into strength uses adversity to bring more women into office.

"It is critical to have EMILY's List candidates elected and in the party rooms, to lead debate and help shape our countries laws with compassion and equity for all." - Sharon Clayton MP, ELA Co-Convenor

The event kicked off with an inspiring address by Emily Cain, Executive Director, EMILY's List USA who relayed stories from her experience of a decade as a state legislator and public policy leader, and two cycles as one of the country’s top ranked Democratic congressional candidates. Ms Cain reiterated the journey of helping progressive pro-choice women find the right strategies, develop the right messaging and grow careers over time is the very heart of EMILY’s purpose. She is very proud that both she and USA’s first Madam Vice President, Ms Kamala Harris, had been EMILY’s endorsed candidates.

Women continue to run for office because they have lived experience of the enormous challenges women and children face. We understand that to get the best policies and lasting change we need to elect more progressive pro-choice women. Emily shared that in response to Donald Trump’s election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List USA to be part of the change. With this 6000% increase in enquiries showing how motivated the base was, the EMILY's team mapped a plan to get women elected. EMILY’s List committed to the impossible and won. With strength and resilience, they were able to flip the balance of power on the house of representatives in 2018. Women stood up told their stories, got elected and now have the opportunity to shape laws.

"Electing women into office doesn’t just happen. It’s not inevitable, we make it happen by persisting over time. We do the hard, consistent, intentional work transforming our government to make it more representative of the people it serves."- Emily Cain, Executive Director, EMILY's List USA

Compilation of Speakers screen shotMs Cain facilitated a panel discussion with members of EMILY's List leadership team Louisa Farley, Deputy Executive Director, Johanna Silva Waki, VP Training and Community Engagement and Tonya Williams, Strategic Communication Director. From across the USA, they shared inspiring stories demonstrating the strength and resilience of their members and their determination to protect the gains made.
Women face many barriers to election and redefining what it means to be electable was a key theme of the discussion. Women need to hear that their voices and experience matter. EMILY’s works to elect women with diverse backgrounds and experience, we need to “see change” for women’s leadership needs to be normalised.

The final discussion question was What do women running need to remember? These are the quotes we need to keep hearing to keep us focused on our journey.

"Every time you are out there as a candidate you are changing the perception of what an elected official could look like." Emily Cain, Executive Director, EMILY's List USA
"You can do it. Don’t let self-doubt get to you. You can win and be successful,”
Louisa Farley, Deputy Executive Director

You’re not alone in the journey to public office and leadership. EMILY’s List has got your back” Johanna Silva Waki, VP Training and Community Engagement
"You are enough. Your passion for your community, your work experience everything is enough” Tonya Williams, Strategic Communication Director.

What qualifies you for office is what you have been through, who you care about, whose challenges you are able to see, and who you want to help. You’re ready!

We see the current federal government adopting the Trump playbook, promoting lies and magnifying divisions. Now is the time to be donating and volunteering to ensure we get progressive women elected to office. Are you able to financially support the cause? Please donate to support our candidates.
We also need an army of volunteers to help get more progressive Labor women elected to bring decency back to our parliament. Get in touch to help

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