How to Change Recruitment Strategies

Appeals for Recruitment Targets

Recruiting women to run for office is one of the central challenges to achieving gender parity. Within our current electoral system, two major players often determine which candidates are recruited to run: political parties and PACs. By convincing these groups to take intentional actions to support women candidates, we can defeat one of the major barriers to their electoral success.

Check out our guide below:

Political Parties

To appeal to a political party, you can call, write, petition, or arrange a meeting with leadership in the local party organization, the state caucus or convention, or the national committee. For help, check out our contact list of state party leaders.

To appeal persuasively, you will have to answer the following questions:

Why gender targets?

  1. They are the most effective method internationally. The United States currently places behind 100 nations for women’s representation in government, many of which employ gender targets. As of June 2016, 40 of the 46 nations with lower houses composed of more than 30 percent women had “applied some form of quotas.

  2. They demonstrate a party’s commitment to American values. Fair representation of women is an indication of strong democratic principles. Diversity in a political party promotes the appearance of an equal, representative body that many different people can enthusiastically support.

  3. They have lasting impact without being permanent policy. In bodies with entrenched biases against women, targets can be permanent, but they can be used only as a temporary catalyst. Targets help women to cross the highest initial barriers to elected office, and their leadership sparks an organic increase in representation that otherwise would not have occurred.

  4. They are not discriminatory. Targets do not provide women with an advantage, but equalize an existing disadvantage.

How can a party implement targets?

  1. First, form a Gender Parity Task Force of party leaders committed to the issue.

  2. The Task Force will assess the status of women’s representation and determine targets for the recruitment of women candidates.

  3. The party agrees on this voluntary internal target and recruits women candidates as such.

  4. The Task Force publishes an annual report on the status of women’s representation in nominees, candidates, winners, and party leadership.


Political Action Committees

To appeal to a PAC to take intentional action towards funding women candidates, you can call, write, petition, or arrange a meeting with executive leadership. Another effective strategy is to contact and gain the support of the PAC’s donors, which can be found in a database on

Here are some key PACs to target:

Top 20 PAC Contributors

  1. National Association of Realtors

  2. National Beer Wholesalers Association

  3. AT&T Inc

  4. Honeywell International

  5. National Auto Dealers Association

  6. Blue Cross/Blue Shield

  7. International Brotherhood of ELectrical Workers

  8. Lockheed Martin

  9. American Bankers Association

  10. Credit Union National Association

  11. Operating Engineers Union

  12. Comcast Corp

  13. National Association of Home Builders

  14. Boeing Co

  15. Northrop Grumman

  16. Majority Cmte PAC

  17. National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors

  18. American Crystal Sugar

  19. United Parcel Service

  20. Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union


Issue PACs

These PACs donate to candidates in the interest of a particular issue. The issues represented below directly demand and benefit from a woman elected official’s perspective - some Democratic, some Republican, and some nonpartisan - which can be used as an argument for the PAC to set a target for funding women’s campaigns.

  1. Reproductive Rights

    1. Planned Parenthood

    2. NARAL Pro-Choice America

    3. Republican Majority for Choice

    4. Susan B Anthony List

    5. Voter Education PAC

  2. Environment

    1. EDF Renewable Energy

    2. League of Conservation Voters

    3. Sierra Club

    4. Environmental Defense Action Fund

  3. Republican

    1. Republican Main Street Partnership

    2. Tuesday Group PAC

    3. Campaign for Working Families

  4. Democratic

    1. New Democrat Coalition

    2. Blue Dog PAC

  5. Education

    1. Democrats for Education Reform

    2. Quality Public Schools PAC

    3. American Federation of Teachers

    4. National Education Association

  6. Healthcare

    1. DeVry Inc

    2. Anthem Inc

    3. 21st Century Oncology

    4. Border Health

    5. American Health Care Association

  7. LGBTQ

    1. American Unity Fund

    2. Equality PAC


Alternatively, you can choose to donate to a PAC yourself or encourage donors to support PACs that advance women’s representation in elected office.

Here are a few:  

PACs that gave the most money to women candidates in 2016

  1. Off the Sidelines

  2. Service Employees International Union

  3. American Federation of Teachers

  4. American Federation of State/County/Municipal Employees

  5. National Education Association

  6. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

  7. Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union

  8. National Beer Wholesalers Association

  9. National Association of Realtors


PACs Committed to Electing Women

  1. EMILY’s List

  2. Value in Electing Women PAC

  3. Tri-state Maxed Out Women

  4. Women’s Political Committee

  5. RightNow Women

  6. Feminist Majority Foundation

  7. WomenWinning

  8. Womencount PAC

  9. Maggie’s List

  10. National Organization for Women

  11. Women in Leadership

  12. Women UNder Forty PAC

  13. Women’s Action for New Directions

  14. Los Angeles Women’s Giving Collective

  15. Santa Barbara Women’s PAC

  16. Progressive Women Silicon Valley

  17. Electing Women San Francisco

  18. National Women’s Political Caucus

  19. Electing Women PAC

  20. Madam President

  21. Liberty Ladies PAC

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