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Member Information

Anne Lee, President of LWVHI from 1985-1989, presented a paper entitled "The League of Women Voters as a Vehicle of Political Recruitment" at the 1989 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association held in Salt Lake City.

Her paper represented a preliminary exploration of the question: What is it that makes the League of Women Voters a significant vehicle of political recruitment? Using the oft-stated concept that the organization played an important role in women's decision to run for office, Anne surveyed presidents of State Leagues and members holding elective office.

Five major ways League inspires women to run for public office emerged: 1.) being knowledgeable about politics, 2.) being grounded in issues, 3.) having specific and relevant skills, 4.) providing support, and 5.) being ready psychologically. The route women take in the quest for political office includes "yeoman" work in parties and campaigns; volunteer experience in civic organizations; making contacts through volunteer activities; and concentration on one particular issue (often education).

The survey respondents indicated the League makes a significant contribution in providing an education about politics and the political process. League also offers a special way of becoming grounded in issues, and made it possible to learn some specific politically useful skills such as public speaking, writing legislation and testimony, parliamentary procedure and negotiating.

A critical contribution played by League was in building self-esteem and confidence. The frequency with which this was mentioned underscored how important gaining self-confidence is for women. A typical comment was, "Through my League activity, I realized that I had a right as much as anyone else ... to hold a position of power and policy making."

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