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Women Running: Gender balanced funding and recruitment targets

RepresentWomen imagines a democracy where political parties, PACS, and donors commit to intentional actions to ensure that more women are recruited to run. These voluntary targets mimic the quotas that are used in over 100 nations to fuel the election of women candidates.


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Political parties in many states and localities play a significant role in deciding who runs for office - they must be challenged to be deliberate about the number of women candidates they recruit.

Local, state, and national political parties should establish Gender Parity Committees to assess the status of women’s representation and determine targets for the recruitment of women candidates. In addition to this, political parties should not just recruit and support cis- and white women, but to commit to representing the diversity of the American population. 

An annual report should be prepared by the local or state party on the status of gender-diverse representation in its own leadership, in the candidates supported, nominees, and general election winners in the most recent elections, and its plans to further this diversity in upcoming elections.

infogram_0_20db34d5-5fee-4bca-bb08-70c7af7a6bafParty Rules Maps

Political Action Committees (PACs) play decisive roles in recruiting, endorsing and funding candidates - they must be challenged to be intentional in the number of women candidates they recruit, support, and fund. 

Many PACs underfund women candidates overall, because they focus their funding on incumbents, most of whom are men. While women-oriented PACs like EMILY’s List and VIEW PAC already are committed to supporting female candidates, other PACs should intentionally and deliberately commit to contributing a certain share of their funds to female candidates. You can find some of our PAC case studies above, or in our Resources Library.

PACs should set funding targets for cis-women, transgender folk, and nonbinary candidates as well as increase those targets every election cycle until our elected bodies reflect the gender diversity of the population. With public pressure, equal funding for male, female, and genderqueer candidates may become a value proposition for PACs. The PAC environment is highly competitive and they are always looking for new ways to look different from other PACs to appeal to donors.

infogram_0_d9a8d1cc-6b16-461b-9348-9ad6dd618e122020 PAC Donations

Individual donor contributions are crucial to the success of women candidates for every level of office. Money is not only required to run a campaign, but often times, fundraising is the first test of a candidate’s viability. Overall, individual donors are less likely to be women, and women who do donate on average give less than men. This can have a gendered outcome for candidates and campaigns.

Donors must also be challenged to set targets for the diversity of the candidates they support of the proportion of their total donations which go to cis-men. Donors may choose to set their own targets for diverse donations to work in concert with other to make their pledge public. Influential donor pledges to support cis-women, transgender folk, and nonbinary individuals will help to build public pressure for increased support for gender diversity in elections.

infogram_0_4ff2e81c-25dc-48d4-b485-d91d9eafeae1Individual Donors - 2018 Cycle

RepresentWomen teamed up with the Center for Responsive Politics, to analyze the data collected on PAC and individual donations during the 2018 election with a gender lens. Our analysis can be found in our report, "PACs and Donors: Agents of Change for Women's Representation" the follow up to our 2016 report "Individual and PAC Giving to Women Candidates."

Our findings include:

  • Individual donors are less likely to be women.
  • It takes more money to win as a woman.
  • Republican women are a particularly underfunded candidate demographic.
  • Intentional action must be taken by PACs and donors to level the electoral playing field.


Party Rules

Since women earned the right to vote 100 years ago, political parties have been looking for ways to engage women in the political process. Both the Democratic and Republican national parties have enacted gender balance rules to attempt to achieve gender parity amongst their state delegates to national conventions. Following these national policies, some state parties have established guidelines for choosing who to send to their state conventions, requiring gender balance at local levels. The team at RepresentWomen has worked with the pro-bono team at Hogan Lovells to research each state party’s rules. 

State political parties in all fifty states have rules that govern their chair and executive committee. Some of these states, such as Alabama and Arizona have rules that specifically call for gender balance in their party. RepresentWomen has compiled party rules pertaining to gender balance for all 50 states and written a brief on the role political parties have to play in improving the diversity of our elected officials.


Go to our Resources page for more information, tools, and resources on gender balanced funding and recruitment targets. 

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Women Leading: Gender balanced appointment and hiring rules

Even after winning elected office, women face more barriers compared to their male colleagues in serving effectively and being promoted into leadership positions. Elected officials and individuals with hiring power must ensure there are women's voices at the highest levels through gender balanced appointments and replacement mandates and by following the Rankin-Chisolm Rule.

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