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We Make More Effective Congresspeople (When We Manage to Get Elected)

Regardless of party affiliation, congressional women deliver more federal projects to their home districts and sponsor and co-sponsor more legislation than their male colleagues. In a study that was recently published in The American Journal of Political Science, researchers from Stanford University and the University of Chicago attributed women's political success not to some innate political instinct but to the fact that it's really hard for us to get elected (there are currently 360 men and 75 women in the House; 83 men and 17 women in the Senate). They theorize that women feel immense pressure to measure up, so instead of meeting expectations, we surpass them.

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WHO, ME? YES, YOU! Or, Why I am a Compulsive Volunteer

BY IN Emerge America On 11-04-2011

“This is the essence of what it means to be a patriot; not only to declare our love of this nation, but to show it – by our deeds, our priorities, and the commitments we keep.”? – The 2008 Democratic National Platform, “Renewing America’s Promise.” I was recently interviewed by a local writer regarding volunteerism – specifically, MY volunteerism.? For an hour and a half, I had full permission to expound on my personal experience with one of my favorite things: working tirelessly for many hours each week on often-frustrating, but inevitably gratifying projects – FOR FREE.? During the interview I was asked about my motivation to give back to my community.? Is it a “higher calling?”? Guilt?? A family history of volunteerism?? Ego?? Being a control freak?? The answer is not so simple.? As I reflect upon my volunteer “jobs” held in the past 20 or so years, each has had its own motivations and rewards. My very first “job” in the nonprofit field was an unpaid one; when I first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, somewhat adrift and without any sort of career direction, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the environment.? After a few months, a paid position was found for me, and that was the genesis of my career in the nonprofit world.? A few years later, I decided to reconnect to my equestrian roots and volunteer at the Point Reyes National Seashore Morgan Horse Ranch.? As an avid rider and former professional “Equine Sanitation Engineer” (i.e., horse poop shoveler), I was welcomed as a member of the volunteer team.? However, patrolling the trails of Point Reyes, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced on the planet, was far from a hardship.? That particular volunteer position was the best of both worlds; it restored my sanity from living in a crazy urban area, while simultaneously helping the park. In my small community of Crockett, in Western Contra Costa County, CA, we have only 3,000 residents, but we also have a community foundation that is one of only a handful in the entire country with a publicly-elected board.? I served on this board for five years, including two as president and two as chair.? It was my first and only (thus far!) experience with running for public office!? I had to gather signatures for a petition to have my name on the ballot, take part in a candidates’ forum, and field questions from our local media (okay, so it’s a once-a-month publication, but still!!!).? Running for office was fun and exciting – and serving on this board enabled me to use skills I’ve used throughout my career in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds, and to gain confidence and leadership skills.

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WHO, ME? YES, YOU! Or, Why I am a Compulsive Volunteer


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