People

Women’s Leadership Forum

About the WLF

Mission Statement:

The Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum engages women in our party by organizing regional and national events — providing women with a platform to engage in policy discussions, a community of dynamic female leaders, and with networking opportunities to inspire further involvement — while generating significant financial support for the Democratic Party.

Current Activities:

The WLF is working to fulfill its mission by offering the following opportunities, all with an emphasis on substantive information, discussion, and action:

  1. Annual National Issues Conference
  2. Regional events focused on policy initiatives to raise political awareness and attract new members
  3. Conference calls with policy and political leaders
  4. Email updates and calls to action
History:

In October 2013, the WLF presented its 20th Anniversary Annual National Issues Conference with the theme “The Next Generation of Women Leaders” aimed at highlighting “women to watch” and young leaders making noteworthy contributions in their fields. The conference included keynote addresses by First Lady Michelle Obama and Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. Other featured guests included Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cecile Richards, DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile, DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other issue experts and elected officials. The conference highlighted the significant role women played to re-elect President Barack Obama as well as presented important policy updates and field tools for women to take back to their communities.

DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced the launch of a new initiative focused on women’s outreach called the Democratic Women’s Alliance. WLF members are eager for its debut at the DNC in 2014 and excited to collaborate on efforts to reach women voters, encourage women to run for office, hold the GOP accountable, and communicate issues important to women effectively.

Leading up to the 2013 conference and special elections, the WLF organized events in New York, Dallas, Atlanta, DC, Chicago, and Seattle with the First Lady, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and many others. As we look ahead to the 2014 midterm elections, the WLF will continue to host national and regional events to support the DNC’s four pillars and work to elect Democratic and female candidates across the country.

In 2008, the WLF and Women for Obama raised more than $5 million and hosted approximately 1500 women in Chicago for a two-day conference featuring President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Oprah Winfrey among others.

Based on the success of the “Take Five” program, the WLF and the Women’s Vote Center launched “Take Six in ‘06” which asked women to educate and encourage six women to join them at the polls on Election Day in 2006. The following year, Nancy Pelosi was elected as the first woman Speaker of the House and Kirsten Gillibrand, the WLF NY Network Chair, took office as the first WLF member elected to Congress.

In 2004, the WLF and the Women’s Vote Center rolled out the “Take Five” program which encouraged every Democratic woman to bring five women to the polls on Election Day. The WLF partnered with Women for Kerry to reach as many women as possible during the election cycle.

In 2003, the WLF celebrated its 10th Anniversary with events across the nation and at the Annual Issues Conference with the theme “It’s Time to Tell the Truth…The Real State of the Union.”

In 2001, the WLF founded the Women’s Vote Center, a new DNC initiative to recruit and train women to serve as effective political advocates and future leaders and engage with grassroots leaders across the country.

In the years leading up to the 2000 election, the WLF hosted networking events in several cities, as well as an annual conference bringing together thousands of women and raising a record-breaking $7 million during the 2000 election cycle.

In 1994, Tipper Gore was named the first WLF Honorary Chair. In the year leading up to the 1996 re-election, First Lady Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore hosted dozens of WLF events across the country.

In 1993, Tipper Gore and 36 women gathered to discuss ways to give women a greater voice in the National Party. The outcome: a new DNC finance council called the Women’s Leadership Forum. Its mission is to maintain a viable women’s program that is an integral part of the Democratic National Committee. Since its formation, the WLF has established a strong record of outreach and fundraising for the Democratic Party through policy briefings, networking receptions, and the annual National Issues Conference.

Recent Updates
  • Syllabus for Republican “Sensitivity” Training

    (Note:  This is satire.  Sort of.)

    With last week’s news that Republicans are going to start holding seminars on how to talk with (and about) women, we at the Democratic National Committee were able to get our hands on a draft syllabus and reading list for the expanded sensitivity training sessions Republicans are going to be holding.

    Syllabus for Republican “Sensitivity” Training

    “Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn.” – Republican Aide to Politico

    “Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be.” – Speaker Boehner

    Dear fellow Republicans —

    Welcome to GOP Sensitivity School, where our goal is to help you show your friendlier, more inclusive side!

    DAY ONE

    HOW TO TALK TO AND ABOUT WOMEN 101:

    Reading List
    Headline: “Bill Cassidy Staffer Tweets Mary Landrieu-Mussolini Picture” [POLITICO, 11/22/13]

    Headline: “NRSC Tweets Sexualized Attack Against Alison Lundergan Grimes” [Huffington Post, 11/19/13]

    DAY TWO

    HOW TO CELEBRATE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT 101:

    Reading List
    Headline: “The G.O.P.’s Racism Tweet” [New York Times, 12/2/13]

    Headline: RNC reflects on ‘ending racism’ [MSNBC.com, 12/2/13]

    DAY THREE

    HOW TO HONOR RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY & TOLERANCE DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON 101

    Reading List

    Headline: “GOP Draws Fire For Selling 'Happy Holidays Is What Liberals Say' Merchandise” [Birmingham News, 12/4/13]

    Pants on Fire: “Jeb Bush Says Obama Is Closing The Embassy To The Vatican” [Politifact, 12/4/13]

    Headline: “GOP Group Attacks Obama As ‘Anti-Religion’ For Moving U.S. Embassy In Vatican” [Mediaite, 11/27/13]

    Headline: “GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter: 'It Is Part Of The Middle Eastern Culture' To Lie (VIDEO)” [Huffington Post, 12/4/13]

    Headline: “Pryor Gets Gop Flak Over Bible Ad” [Arkansas Online, 12/4/13]

    Headline: “Republicans Had Better Get Comfortable With 'Happy Holidays'” [Business Insider, 12/2/13]


    DAY FOUR

    HOW TO OPEN OUR BIG TENT UP TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY 101

    Reading List
    Headline: “Rep. Randy Forbes: Deny Money To Gay Candidates” [POLITICO, 12/4/13]

    Headline: “Boehner Sees ‘No Basis Or No Need’ For ENDA” [Washington Blade, 11/14/13]

    DAY FIVE

    PROVING WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT LATINO OUTREACH 101

    Reading List
    Op-ed: “Gov. Christie Making Weak Excuses For Opposing The NJ DREAM Act” [PolitickerNJ, 12/5/13]

    Headline: “No Immigration Reform Vote In The House This Year” [Washington Post, 11/8/13]

    Headline: “McCarthy: No House Immigration Deal In '13” [The Hill, 11/8/13]

    DAY SIX

    HOW TO PUT A BAND-AID ON A MAJOR PROBLEM 101

    Reading List
    Headline: “GOP Men Tutored In Running Against Women” [POLITICO, 12/5/13]

    Headline: “Boehner’s Rx For GOP’s Women Woes: Be More Sensitive” [ABC News, 12/5/13]

    DAY SEVEN

    LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTAKES 101

    Reading List

    Headline: “No soul-searching for Virginia GOP after losses” [Politico, 12/8/13]

    From the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza on the path forward for the GOP following their losses in Virginia: “But, no matter what, Republicans have a problem… But knowing it and knowing how to solve it are two very different things.” [Washington Post, 12/8/13]

  • Advancing Women in Leadership

    Last week, women state party Chairs, Vice Chairs, Executive Directors and staff gathered in New Orleans during a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs to discuss the increasing role of women as leaders in Democratic Parties across the country.

    This was the second time I participated in this event and wow! Not only has the turnout grown, but the programming - under the leadership of Louisiana Chair Karen Carter-Peterson and Idaho Executive Director Sally Boyton Brown - has excelled and given us the tools to improve how we promote women leaders in the states across the country. I was especially moved when both Chair Carter-Peterson, the first female Chair in Louisiana, and Maryland Chair Yvette Lewis spoke about what they each had to overcome in order to move into the top leadership position in their state Democratic Party structure.

    Here's a few pictures from the event.  I am looking forward to the next gathering!

    Great turnout in New Orleans at the women's luncheon!

    Maryland Chair Yvette Lewis moderates panel discussion about media coverage of women running for political office and what our national group of women can do to create change in our states.

    Louisiana Chair Karen Carter-Peterson answers a question about women leaders in state parties.

    One last pic from the ASDC & Louisiana Democratic Party welcome reception on Friday evening... an all women New Orleans brass band!  They were incredible.

     

     

  • It’s been a banner week in the GOP’s outreach to women…

    The GOP Autopsy Report: “Be conscious of developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women. The Republican Party needs to offer that same vision and message demonstrating that our policies, principles and vision address the concerns of female voters.”

    Yet just this week we saw:

    In Kentucky -  Mitch McConnell's allies at the NRSC tweet an extremely offensive and sexist photo of senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

    In Texas - Tea Partier Rick Atkinson referred to State Senator Leticia Van de Putte as "barrio boopsie," insulting both her gender and ethnicity.

    In Louisiana - Senator Mary Landrieu’s main opponent, Bill Cassidy’s campaign manager tweet a photo of the Senator’s face superimposed on the body of Dictator Mussolini.

    And Rush Limbaugh decided that a comparison to rape would be the best way to explain yesterday’s rule change in the Senate.

    Women have already rejected the Republican Party in droves in recent cycles because of their extreme policies restricting women’s access to health care and their obstruction on laws like Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    And if today’s GOP thinks insulting women leaders is the way to expand their appeal among female voters, they are very mistaken.

  • #DemWomen are Still fired up!

    In honor of "Throw Back Thursday" we wanted to share a few photos from the Women's Caucus meetings at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It may be a year later, but Democratic women are just as fired up today as they were then. Take a look at the photos below and join the conversation by using #DemWomen on Twitter.

     

  • LOAD MORE
Stay Connected
Women’s Leadership Forum: Get Involved
Recent Action
President Obama Appoints Four More Women to Federal Judgeships
May 17, 2013
President Obama nominated four women to federal judgeships, further illustrating his dedication to creating a federal judiciary that better reflects our nation.
Violence Against Women Act Reauthorized
March 7, 2013
President Obama signed the reauthorization of VAWA — a groundbreaking piece of the legislation that combats sexual assault by holding offenders responsible while aiding victims.
President commits to battling HIV/AIDS
December 7, 2011
On World AIDS Day President Obama directed $50 million in increased funding for the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS, a disease that disproportionally affects women both internationally and domestically.