Research has consistently found that women tend to adopt a more transformational leadership style, which is rooted in authenticity, cooperation and a focus on the common good. With men at the helm of power since our nation’s founding, we have only seen and thus have accepted as the norm their leadership style – one that is more transactional, and one that values self over team, self over community.
This is changing.
In 2020, we saw the world finally recognize what we at Emerge California have known all along: women know how to lead. And, we must elect women if we want to live in a world where transformational leadership is the norm and not the exception.
This is exactly why Emerge California was founded. We knew that if we changed the face of elected power, the decisions impacting each and every one of us would change too.
For 19 years, Emerge California has been empowering Democratic women leaders to run for elective office — and WIN. We do this by recruiting women leaders to run, providing training to ensure they have the resources and tools needed to win once they do, and building a sisterhood that works to combat a political system still rooted in white supremacy and patriarchal culture.
We are intentional about recruiting women from communities that have been historically excluded from politics, namely, women of the New American Majority – Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and young and unmarried women. We do this because we know that when our elected leaders bring the life experiences of those they serve to the halls of power, different and better decisions will be made.
Today, more than 800 women leaders have been trained by Emerge California. 182 Emerge California women currently serve in elective office, including Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, and seventeen mayors across the state.
In 2020, we saw what it meant to have these women in elective office.
Emerge California alumna and San Francisco Mayor London Breed was the first mayor in the country to order residents to shelter in place in March 2020. Immediately after, other major cities and eventually the State of California followed suit.
In Monterey, Emerge California alumna and then-school board member Wendy Root Askew knew that students learning at home would be affected and delivered laptops to every student in the district to combat the inequities of the “digital divide.”
Emerge California alumna and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott cracked down on gun law violations, knowing the safety risks that some families and children would face at home during a mandated quarantine.
Throughout the state, Emerge California alumnae were at the forefront of the global pandemic. They worked to ensure that students at home were safe and fed, essential workers were protected, and small businesses received the support they needed to survive.