Malcolm presented this lecture as part of the Women@Google series, at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Thanks thank you all very much.
It is great fun for me to be here and share a different kind of entrepreneurial startup in Silicon Valley. It seems so fitting to be here and talk about what it means to have an idea and to make it grow and to essentially end up changing the world as you all have done here at Google.
You know I…at one point in EMILY's List…when EMILY's List started, every election cycle I would have to sort of re-understand, what is EMILY's List, what is my role in EMILY's List, where are we going in all this. And one day I, somebody said to me, "Well, what does it feel like to be changing the history for women in politics?" and I said, "You know, it's not that I, you know, wanted to have total upheaval in the world or anything like that. I just kind of wanted to take the globe and just sort of turn it a little bit."
And I think all of you at Google at one time or another might have had that same kind of feeling, where you just wanted to take the world and just turn it a little bit and make it a different place.
Well, for women to understand the impact and the importance of EMILY's List, you have to go back to the beginning. You have to go back to where we were in 1985, which to many of you probably seems like ancient history, but you should realize was only 11 federal elections ago. So not very long ago.
At that time, there were 12 Democratic women in the 435-member House of Representatives. There had never been a governor of a big state. And when you looked at the United States Senate, you never saw a Democratic woman there. There had never been – now just think about this – 11 elections ago there had never been a Democratic woman elected to the United States Senate in her own right, in the history of this country.
Well, a group of my friends and I who had worked for women in politics said we're going to change that. We want to make the world different. We want women to have political power. And we looked, in a more esoteric way, at the fact that our representative democracy was clearly not working. I mean, we weren't representing women in the political process at all.
The environment for women was terrible. Women were never treated seriously. Nobody ever asked women to win unless it was a House seat that no Democrat could ever possibly win. Then they'd go to the woman and say, "Well, we need somebody to run for the party. Will you please run?" But if there was ever any realistic chance whatsoever for winning, it belonged to the guys and the women were sent to the back of the room.
We knew all kinds of friends that would tell us stories, that you know, I'm a state senator, I'm a state representative, my U.S. House seat opened up and I decided I wanted to run for Congress. So I went to the big fundraisers in my community and I said, "All right, I'm ready to run for office. Will you help me?" And the guy would kind of sit back in his chair and he'd say, "You know you're never going to be able to raise the money. I'm not going to support you. I'm going to support this fellow over here."
So the women were caught. The guys would never come in and give them the financial power that they needed to win, and because they never had the money they could never put together a winning campaign. They were just caught in this vicious circle. Women can't win, and then not getting the support which of course meant that women couldn't win.
So in spite of all the lofty thoughts of making our representative democracy more representative, the truth is we were really pissed and we were sick and tired of it and we wanted to do something different.
And so we decided that we needed to do something pretty simple. We thought, you know, if we could just go out and raise some early money for our women candidates, then they would have enough money in the bank. They could do a poll, they could go to the guys – the old boys' network – and they could say, "Look here's the data for me. Here is the poll. You can look at this. I have money in the bank. Now will you support me?"
And if we gave them enough credibility, if we could bridge that credibility gap for women by raising early money, maybe we could in fact convince the old boys to get behind their campaign.
So EMILY's List decided we were going to reach out to our friends across the country and we were going to try to raise early money for the women candidates, and that if we just told the people we knew who was out there running we could in fact raise enough early money to make are women viable.
Well, that very simple concept – as you all know, it's sort of like, you know, if we could just help people find the answers and the information that's out there for them, then they would be very happy. Well, if we could just raise some early money, everybody would be happy and women could win. That simple concept essentially revolutionized political fundraising for women. It began a process of putting women at the political table, and it ended up winning races all across the board. That very simple, early-money concept; that political venture-capitalist concept – come in early – made a tremendous difference for women.
And so I'm going to, like, snap forward to the results of what I mean by that and give you a couple of statistics of where we are today as opposed to where we are 11 elections ago. It is a different world for women candidates, and as you all look at the Congress – particularly here in California – you see a very different picture of who has political power in this country. You see a more representative face when you look at the Senate and the House.
And as I said, there were 12 Democratic women in the House and your very own neighbor, Nancy Pelosi, when she was sworn in as speaker, when she looked out at the House floor and took the oath of office as speaker, there were 50 Democratic women sitting in the House.
There'd never been a Democratic woman elected to the Senate in their own right. We have added 13 Democratic women. Eleven of them are currently serving. They are the only women in the history of this country to make that achievement. And they were also in the room cheering on Speaker Pelosi as she became the first woman speaker.
And of course you in California know more than anyone what it means to have the power of women in office, because two of those women senators were your own Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both of whom we did a tremendous amount for.
So I'm going to talk a little bit more about the strategy, about the product, that is EMILY's List, about how we evolved to create this change for women and politics, and talk a little bit at the end, I think, about why it's important to have women – particularly if you are interested as I am in building a more progressive America – because it is women in this country that hold progressive values, that are more progressive on issues, and whether it's the environment or workplace issues, reproductive issues, war and peace – it is women that disproportionately hold the progressive positions on those issues.
So getting more women in office is not only good for diversity in the congressional bodies they sit in, but I think it is good for the future of this country as we tackle the many problems we see in the future.
So here is the concept. And I'm going to talk a little bit about what it means when I say this simple idea of we were going to tell our friends that there were women out there that had a chance of winning and they would write checks to them. And that idea in fact reinvented political fundraising.
And I'll tell you why – up and to that point everybody had PACs. You've heard of those – political action committees. And under the federal elections law, a political action committee can raise money and give up to $5,000 to a candidate in a primary or in a general election race. So there's a ceiling on what a PAC can contribute.
All across Washington there were, I don't know, at one point I saw there were more than 4,000 PACs, and they are very busy trying to fill up their campaign war chest so they can put their $5,000 into the race of someone they think is going to win. They primarily do it because they have a legislative agenda. They want to make friends and they want to go knock on the door the minute the election's over and say, "Hi. We gave you the maximum amount of money so we need to have a little conversation about our proposal on this piece of legislation."
Well, we did it in a very different way. We created what we called a donor network. And a donor network, when I went out and asked people to join EMILY's List, meant that we would ask you to join for a hundred dollars and that meant that you had kind of hired us to be your political staff.
EMILY's List's job then was to go out and find pro-choice Democratic women who had a realistic chance of winning for Senate, for House, for governor. We'd send you a profile about the candidate, would talk all about the race, their positions on all kinds of issues, and then you decide where your money is going to go. You get out your check and you get a letter, let's say, with eight recommended candidates in it and you say, well I like these two over here, and you'd make out your check directly to the candidate that you liked. So you would make it out "Barbara Boxer for Senate," "Dianne Feinstein for Senate," send it back to us, and we would forward those contributions on to the campaign. So instead of a $5,000 or a $10,000 limit, we could raise infinite amounts of money for our women candidates and make them realistic, viable contenders in those races.
When I went out and started EMILY's List and we had that idea, I assumed there was a market segment out there that was looking for this kind of way to participate in politics. I assumed that there were men and women – but they would primarily be women – that they had come through the 1970s and the women's movement, they were tired of being angry, they wanted to feel our power, they wanted to make a positive difference.
And I assumed that market segment was, you know, at that time probably 35 years old or older, that they were women who had been primarily in the workforce, they were used to making decisions, they were comfortable with that, probably cared about politics and maybe even had made a political contribution, and they were very much wanting a way that was effective, that made sense. They were sophisticated and they wanted a product that was sophisticated.
And so as I created EMILY's List, just as I think you tried to figure out and the team here figured out a product line that was to meet the needs of the market segment, I was creating a product that met the needs of what I thought was a group of people that would like EMILY's List.
So everything we did was tailored to that product, and particularly in the first election cycle was the most fun I've ever had in my life. I would, you know, eat, sleep, drink EMILY's List. What does it sound like? What does it feel like? What does it look like? How can I get the word out there and energize people?
And it was a very different kind of organization than what women were used to. And I'll give you some examples of that.
We were partisan – we only supported Democratic candidates. And the reason we were partisan is because we'd seen the Republicans come in in 1980, elect Ronald Reagan, take control of the Senate and start undoing all the work that we had done for women and children in the women's movement in the 1970s. And so we said, at the end of the day, we don't want those Republicans chairing the committees. We think Democrats should share the committees so we can move forward an agenda that we care about. We were the first national organization to say we're going to be partisan. It was considered a very tough, very political statement for somebody in the women's movement to make.
We were pro-choice. And this was before the Webster decision, after Roe v. Wade, but before all the onslaught of attacks on choice. People were not really talking about the choice issue in politics. We had debates in the steering committee – the founders of EMILY's List – about whether or not we should be pro-choice, and at the end of the day we determined that at the foundation of all the issues that we wanted women to have the opportunity, all the choices we thought women should be able to make – whether it was to go into the workforce or stay home, whether it was to find different ways to balance work and family issues – at the fundamental core of all those issues, women needed to have the right to control their reproductive functions. And so choice became a fundamental issue for what we are doing.
So we supported pro-choice, Democratic women.
We supported viable candidates – candidates that had a real chance of winning. And that was almost heresy back in those days, because during the women's movement, frankly, we were all excited that any old woman ran for anything. We were so thrilled that somebody was out there everybody thought we ought to get behind 'em and support 'em. But we said no – our smart market segment wants to win, and therefore we are only going to support candidates who have a realistic chance of winning.
And I went out and made a big deal about how we would make tough decisions. If we saw a good woman out there and she was running but she didn't have a chance in that race, EMILY's List was not going to support her.
We did it for two reasons. One is to go to the market segment. The other is to go to the old boys' network and deliver a message to them. Because don't forget – they didn't think women could win. Big credibility gap. Biggest problem women breaking through in politics had. And so the more EMILY's List said to the political world, we're tough – we will not support women if they don't have a chance of winning – when we started coming into these races the political world all of a sudden would start paying attention.
And after an election or two, the word kind of got out. Well, you know so and so's running for the House seat and EMILY's List is behind her, so she must have a realistic chance of winning, so maybe we should look closely at getting involved in this race. And we became sort of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for women running for Congress and for other offices. This then helped decrease the credibility problem that women face. So taking the information from our market segment about what they cared about it and combining it with the political strategy meant that women had a better chance of winning in those races.
So we created this product and probably the most powerful piece of it, of the product, for the members was the fact that they decided where their money was going to go. That we would send you candidate mailings – you joined, but basically the strength of EMILY's List was the money you gave to the candidates. And by giving you the information, encouraging you to make your own decisions – you write the checks to whoever you want, it's not some board in Washington making those decisions – you had the personal power to make a difference. But, you knew all of us doing this together was creating an incredible political force.
It is so much the essence of women. It is – we have individual power, we want to make our own decisions, but we also want to work together and combine our resources to make a difference. And so the very donor network concept reached out to our members and said, all right this is something I want to be a part of.
Now, I'm sure you have heard this, too. I knew we were getting somewhere when two things happened. One of them is – now this is before we'd even had an election in 1986 – we supported two Democratic women running for the Senate because we wanted to elect the first Democratic woman to the Senate in her own right.
And I would go out and I'd say, "Now look – if a thousand of us wrote a $100 check, we could raise $100,000 for Barbara Mikulski," and women would cheer. "We could do that!" It had never been done before in politics. Women's organizations had never had that kind of financial power. But we could do that. All I have to do is write my $100 check and get my friend Mary to come in and write a $100 check, and before you know it we could raise $100,000 dollars for Barbara Mikulski.
So I knew when I said that people got what we were doing and they wanted to be a part of it. And of course the ultimate, I think, success of marketing was when people started coming up to me and saying, "You know, this is a great idea. Why didn't anybody do this before?" That's when I really knew we had arrived.
So I started out in a wonderful kind of collective way. I wrote up what EMILY's List was and we, the founding mothers, invited some people down to my basement and we started sending out letters to our friends. Here's what EMILY's List is, you know, I wrote the letter. Everybody wrote a little note on it. This is a really great idea, I hope you'll join. And we started building the list of EMILY's List. Ended up with about 1,200 members in the first election. We did, in fact, support Senator Mikulski now, Barbara Mikulski, Congresswoman Mikulski then, and Harriet Woods, who ran from Missouri who did not win in 1986.
But Barbara Mikulski became like the living example of early money and it was just a phenomenal example of what women faced. She had been in Congress and the House of Representatives for ten years. She ran in a primary for an open seat. In the primary was a congressman from outside of Washington who everybody in the DC world thought was great and the current governor of Maryland who actually had gotten himself in some political trouble, so actually the governor was not really considered a threat in this.
So here is Barbara Mikulski out of the bedrock of Democratic power in Maryland coming out of Baltimore. Here we have the suburban congressman, the governor – the somewhat tarnished governor. They do a poll in the Baltimore Sun about year before the election and lo and behold Barbara Mikulski has a 20-point lead in the polls.
Now you'd think Congresswoman Mikulski would go to the old boys' network, sit down and say, "Here I am, been in the House 10 years, 20-point lead in the polls. Will you make a contribution to my campaign?" "Oh no," they said. "You're never going to be able to raise the money. You can't possibly win this race. That congressman from the suburbs – he's going to raise all the money. He's going to blow you out of the water. It's his name recognition. Don't think for a minute you're going to win."
A somewhat irrational analysis of the data, but something that happens to women all the time. It happens every single time a woman breaks through and is the first of something, whether it's the first member of the House from her area, the first governor, the first senator – even when they run for president. "Well, the data all says she's way in the lead, but I just don't know if she can win."
So this time EMILY's List said, "All right. We have a list. We're going to try this out and see what happens." So Barbara Mikulski and the Mikulski campaign said, we have to show the political network – the old boys' network in Maryland – that the lead in the polls is there but we can also raise money. So everybody went to work raising money for the campaign, and EMILY's List made its first little candidate mailing and we sent it out there to our new members and said, "Here's our opportunity. If you like what Barbara Mikulski stands for and we think you will, write her a check."
Public report comes out from the Federal Elections Commission and lo and behold, Barbara Mikulski, with help from little ole EMILY's List, as I recall we raised about $30,000, which was a fortune back in 1986 in politics, raised as much as the suburban congressman from Montgomery County. And the political guys looked at that and said, "Holy cow, she's got a 20-point lead and she's competitive in the money. She's going to win. We better get on board right away."
And the money started pouring into her campaign. Her opponents' money dried out and she ended up handily winning the primary in September, and in November beat the Republican in that Democratic state and became the first Democratic woman ever elected to the United States Senate in her own right.
Early money was like yeast – it made her dough rise, it made her credible in the political world and it created history. So EMILY's List was off to a great start.
In 1988, we added House races. I didn't, you know, want us to jump into everything all at once, so in 1988 we did House races.
Interesting, a little side note – all the history is kept generally in a non-partisan way, so nobody really had stopped to see we're Democratic women versus Republican women, and I discovered when you broke out the numbers, Democratic women at the beginning of the women's movement had 14 seats in the House. In 15 years it had actually dropped to 12.
So we decided we were going to try to elect some women to the House. We supported nine candidates. We elected two new women – Jolene Unseld and Nita Lowey to Congress. And as someone who's always seen lemonade where there are lemons, said we had reversed an historic decline of Democratic women in the House and have done nothing, you know, but head forward since that time.
In 1990, we added governors to the list, and in fact your Dianne Feinstein ran for governor in 1990. She did not win in that situation, but it set the stage for her to go into the Senate in 1992. Two wonderful women became governor in 1990, Barbara Roberts in Oregon and Ann Richards in Texas, who is just a wonderful character and a very powerful woman in Texas was elected in 1990.
And then in 1992, the roof blew off at EMILY's List, because there was something in the political world called the Thomas-Hill hearings. President Bush had nominated Clarence Thomas to go to the Supreme Court. The procedure was going on, everybody was trying to get a handle on who this fellow, was when a woman named Anita Hill came forward and said that Clarence Thomas, when he was her boss, had sexually harassed her.
They tried to kind of sweep it under the rug. It became public and the United States Senate Judiciary Committee had to deal with the claims of sexual harassment. Now we talk about sexual harassment. We understand what it is, we understand what we're supposed to do and what's appropriate in the workplace. That was never the case before Anita Hill stepped forward. It was horrifying to the world that there was this discussion of sexual harassment.
And for a long weekend – as I recall it was Columbus Day weekend – the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on her claims of sexual harassment. And sitting up on the dais were 14 white men United States senators. Some Republicans, some Democrats, but not a woman was sitting on that panel.
And essentially what happened to Anita Hill is what happens all too often to women who tell the truth about unpleasantries that people don't want to deal with, and they attacked Anita Hill, particularly the Republicans. To save the Supreme Court nominee, they went after Anita Hill with everything they could. And the Democrats, totally uncomfortable with the subject matter, basically sat there frozen.
And so the country, just riveted on this like, just, never been anything like it, started a debate about, do you believe Anita? Started a lot of women going out and saying they just don't get it, they don't understand what it is in the workplace, sexual harassment happens all the time. Women would say, yes there was sexual harassment; men would say, "No, no, no, when I just pinch you on the butt I'm just having fun, you know. It's nothing."
And so a big debate about what is sexual harassment, with no women on that panel who had the woman's view of what was appropriate behavior in the workforce. And our market segment are working often in the workplace, educated, involved, riveted by that television market segment, went into a rage. Where are the women?
And for the first time, many women learned that there were only two women at that time in the United States Senate. Nancy Kassebaum was a Republican senator, Barbara Mikulski the Democrat, and 98 men who did not agree with women's understanding of what is sexual harassment and certainly were very happy tarnishing the reputation of Anita Hill.
And our market segment said, "Wait a minute. We have to get women in the Senate. The world is different. Women are in the workplace. We have our rights. We have to stand up for women. We need women there who know what our lives is like and will fight for us."
And EMILY's List became the focal point for women as they sought for a way to elect women to high office. We were on 60 Minutes, which at that time was the most-watched show on television. We got 16,000 phone calls after the 60 Minutes segment.
You have to appreciate – in 1990 we had about 3,500 members. In one year, we grew to 24,000 members. We raised about $10 million in that election cycle. This is a long way from Rolodex parties in my basement and trying to figure out who we can get to write a $100 check.
And best of all we absolutely revolutionized the participation of women in politics. Twelve Democratic women in the House when we started. We added 20 in the 1992 elections. We added four new women, Democratic women, to the Senate, including Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. It was called the Year of the Woman, and it woke women up across this country to the need for women to have more political power.
And little ole EMILY's List that was, I think we had seven people on the staff when we went into the '92 elections, blossomed. It became a full-service political organization and set the stage for moving into different ways of building EMILY's List into a powerhouse that did a heck of a lot more than just raise money for women candidates.
Now I want to stop for a second and talk a little bit about the barriers to keep women out of these top offices, because I've talked about the major gender one, the credibility issue and people not taking women seriously.
But I think the biggest barrier to keeping women out of office is actually not about gender – it is about the power of incumbency. It is the fact that if you are a member of Congress, it is virtually a tenured position. In most elections, 98 to 99 percent of members of Congress who run for reelection are re-elected. It's kind of hard to believe. We have all this battling back and forth and you know, who's going to take the House and all this stuff. At the end of the day in your average election, 98 to 99 percent of the members who run for reelection are re-elected.
There are some handful of open seats where there isn't an incumbent. And so the environment that we look at is, you can't beat the incumbents. Where can you win? In these open seats.
Maybe there are 40 open seats in a particular election for the House out of 435 districts. Let's say half of them are Republican, or let's just say 15 of them. So that gives us 25 districts where a Democrat, if starting from ground zero, is on an even playing field to add a newcomer – 25 out of 435 seats. The system is cemented in place. It is almost impossible to bring newcomers into Congress.
And so when we have the mission of bringing new women into Congress, we really face this incredible, insurmountable odds that is the power of incumbency that solidifies those people there and creates very few opportunities for change.
So coming out of 1992 as we became a larger organization, I said, "This is great. We can create a political organization that can do more to identify opportunities so that every single time we see a possibility, an opportunity to add a newcomer to Congress, we can make sure there's a woman in that race and try to win that opportunity."
And everything we have done since 1992 and beyond is to identify those opportunities and make sure we cash in. It is the only way you're going to see more and more women serving in political office.
So we started our political organization first off by creating a training program. We had worked with the candidates a lot and we would say to them, "Okay, you've got to raise a lot of money when you run for Congress, so what you need to do is go out and hire a fundraiser and raise money." And the women would say, "Well, that's a great idea. Where's a fundraiser? I don't know where there is one."
So we decided the first thing we'd do is train people to be fundraisers and then they could send us somebody, we could give them the skills or we could train people that were looking for a job and help them hook up with a campaign, and we would start building a core of smart professionals.
We went from fundraisers to campaign managers. We train researchers, people on how to get out the vote. We have this fabulous simulated campaign that's about 1,200 pages of data that we use particularly to train the campaign managers. And it's a simulated House race in the state of Delusion and it has everything in it, from what does it cost to get on all the radio stations to where's the 4-H club going to meet and when, and polling data and all the cross tabs on the polling data, and we use that to not just give lectures on understanding the process of campaigns but being able to then take that and use the data to make it happen.
So we do that. We have a job bank now. We have a huge piece that just trains campaign professionals to go into the campaigns. We have a group of people on our staff then that work with all the staff on the campaigns. We call them trackers. And when you run for Congress or Senate or governor, we have someone at EMILY's List that is constantly on the phone – what's happening, what are your problems, you know, helping them find solutions in their campaign situations. If they have problems on special areas, we have experts that can work with them. If there's a fundraising issue or the candidate won't make those awful fundraising calls, we have a fundraising tracker that works with them. So this whole great big piece that's trying to train professionals to work in races
In 2000, for the first time, women as a percentage of the state legislators dropped, and it was a real warning bell. One of the problems is term limits, which you see here in California, which you would think in the earliest sense would be good, because we wouldn't have all those incumbents that I don't like running against.
But in fact, with term limits we keep losing the women that are in the system and we're just scrambling all the time to replace them. It's been a big problem here in your state as we've been trying to bring women into the system.
So we have created a program after 2000 – the Political Opportunity Program – that is designed to recruit and train women to run for the state legislature. They are the pipeline. They are the women that will move up into Congress. So when we see those open-seat opportunities for the U.S. House, we have women ready to run.
But they're also the women that are taking important leadership in their state, reclaiming those state legislative bodies for the Democrats so they can create a progressive agenda, emerging as leaders now in the House and Senate in their states and having a wonderful impact on issues that are important.
We found it was interesting trying to recruit women, because we go to them and we'd say, "Well, are you going to run for the state legislature? And the women would say to us, over and over, "You know, I've always wanted to run for politics but nobody's really ever asked me."
Now I always thought if you ask a guy if he wants to run for the state senate, he's like, "Oh, you know, that's way too lowly. I'm running for president of the United States." But women – we kind of are shy about some of these things sometimes, so we have done a lot to encourage women to run for office.
And so I want to now turn this over to a little video, our little "you've been asked" video to encourage our women to run for the state legislature.
VIDEO: I ran for Secretary of State. I ran for the United States Senate. I ran for the California State Assembly. I ran for the United States Senate. United States Congress. President of the Colorado Senate. I ran for governor. At EMILY's List, we know how to win campaigns. Our mission isn't just to help pro-choice Democratic women run for office. Our mission is to help pro-choice Democratic women run and win – win federal, state, and local offices. I was in the state assembly. I was a state senator for 12 years. A social worker – and I had never run for office before. Gwen was in the Senate. I loved being a state senator. Then the congressional seat opened up. Gwen was running. You better believe it. EMILY's List asked me to run for state senate. That's right. I thought her senate seat would be tough, but I thought I had a good chance at winning. Lena called, wanting me to run for her assembly seat. Girl, you can do it. I thought to myself, you must be crazy. Running for office is tough business. Running for office and winning is even tougher. I'm Gwen Moore, United States congresswoman. Lena Taylor – now, a state senator. Tamara Grigsby – state representative. We've been helping women up and down the ticket for a very long time. Then, in 2000, we saw the number of women serving in state legislatures drop. It was the first drop in 30 years. The decline was a real problem and nobody was addressing it. We believed it posed a major threat for the future of women in public office. So we started a program to recruit, train, and elect women to local and statewide office – the Political Opportunity Program. We call it POP. POP is designed to create a pipeline of women for future higher office. And to make sure that when it comes to policy issues that affect our daily lives, there are progressive women representing us in cities and state legislatures all across the country. We don't wait for them to come to us – we go out and find quality candidates and ask them to run. Across the country, in every state, we'll go anywhere and do anything to get them to run. EMILY's List scours the country to find these wonderful, talented women, recruiting them to run and teaching them to win. Nobody leaves our training without being asked to run. So we ask and we ask and we ask again. We say, consider yourself asked. Since we began, POP has trained thousands of potential and declared women candidates and their staff in over 30 states. In a very short amount of time, we have helped to elect hundreds of women across the country and they are making a difference. I'm working to ensure the integrity and fairness of our election. I'm working on improving access to health care. To keep our air and water clean. I'm working on protecting reproductive rights. To make our schools better. By teaching the fundamentals of campaigns – fundraising, message and voter contact – we're really teaching one thing – how to win. Our field director came from EMILY's List. My finance staff was trained by EMILY's List. They were great and helped me win. Once they're in office, we stay in contact with those we supported, watching out for them and thinking about their next race. Women are over fifty percent of the population in the United States, but we're far less than that in the United States Congress. We're making progress and EMILY's List is helping but we still have a long way to go. It's important for us to see women in chief executive positions. I know what a difference it makes when women are included in making policy. When women are involved in the political process, it makes a difference in so many ways. It makes a difference for our families. For our reproductive freedom. For our children. For our economy. It makes a difference on education. EMILY's List makes a difference – for our kids, for our country, for our future. By helping women, EMILY's List is having a massive impact on power all across this nation. By electing women to office, we build a fairer, stronger America and that helps us all. Over the next decade, EMILY's List will continue to expand, helping bring women into political office and move up the political ladder and will bring in the new generation of American leaders – the spirit, the hope, the future of our country. I ran for the House of Representatives. I ran for state representative. County supervisor. Georgia General Assembly. I ran for the school board. The county commissioner. I was a county commissioner, a state representative, a state senator and a U.S. congresswoman. All of those campaigns and experiences helped me when I ran for the U.S. Senate. I tell you what – I could really use more women serving in the legislature. We need more women running for office. If more women run, more women win. And that's great for all of us. Come on – run. Just run. We have got to have more women running. If I can do it, you can do it. Come on. The answer is you. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. Umm hmmm. I'm asking you to consider running for office. Hey you – you've been asked. Run. Run. To change the makeup of our legislature. Come on. Run. To change things for the better. Run. To change the way we participate in politics. Run. To change the future for our daughters and our sons. Run. To change the face of power in America.
MALCOLM: So I hope after seeing all that, you are ready to run and I cannot move forward without saying you have been asked. We need you to run, and we particularly need you to run here in California with term limits.
We are now seeing more and more women come into the political process as candidates, but the big power of women is what we do at the ballot box. And one of the other major programs of EMILY's List is our Women Vote program.
You may be surprised to know that 53 percent of a typical presidential election, 53 percent of the vote are women. And in the primaries on the Democratic side, that percentage is even higher. In fact, when Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein were competing in primaries here in California, women were 56 percent of the primary turnout.
Women have an incredible ability to create change and take political power, if we can get them to vote. And so many women don't understand that, think it doesn't make a difference, and step back.
And so EMILY's List has done an incredible job since 1994 using smart marketing to understand different demographic groups of women and talk to them about issues that are important to them, to mobilize them to go out and vote. We do it in every way imaginable – on television, on radio, on the internet, obviously in the mail and on phones. We are the leaders on the Democratic side, with a group of other organizations, in doing micro-targeting and bringing much more sophisticated modern marketing techniques into the political process, but all the time reaching out to women and saying, you have a stake in the system. If you want to change the war in Iraq, if you want to do something about health care, if you want to change the school system and make it better, then you have to go to the polls and vote.
And one of the things – if you are not registered to vote and you don't regularly vote, I have to encourage you to do that. We need you. We need your perspective. We need your enthusiasm, your intelligence. We need you in this most basic responsibility of democracy, and that is to go out and vote.
When EMILY's List brings these women to the polls, we're doing an important thing. We're not only electing our women, but we're electing Democratic men who are also on the ticket. And so by taking a big race like the Senate race, we can energize women about one of those races at the top of the ticket knowing those same voters are going all the way down the ticket and helping elect our women to the state legislature, are helping men win a congressional seat or be elected governor. It's all harnessing the power of women as voters to make a positive difference.
Well, I've talked a little about the market segment and I've talked about the strength and the passion of EMILY's List members to harness the power of women to make a difference in our country. But what I haven't mentioned enough, I think, is the pride that we feel on the change that we've made – all those women that we've elected to office, the history that we have made time and time again. because we as women stepped up and said we are going to have a seat at the table in politics. We're going to make a difference.
Obviously when we saw Nancy Pelosi sworn into speaker, we were so excited. Because for the first time, a woman's perspectives, a woman's voice, was going to be heard in the top level of the U.S. House of Representatives.
And now we have one more job to do and that is to elect the first woman president.
Now we all get involved and who likes what candidate and the politics and where you're going to go on the issues, but I want to give you a special perspective as a woman looking at a presidential campaign with a woman as front runner.
I remember earlier, in 1984, when Vice President Mondale was running for president and he put Geraldine Ferraro on his ticket. It was the first time a woman had been a vice presidential nominee running for this top office. Now, I was watching that and I was actually part of the effort to make sure that happened.
But I remember sitting in my living room, television on, when Fritz Mondale brought Geri Ferraro out to meet the press as his nominee. And I was excited and I knew it was going to happen, but I was amazed in my reaction. Because as I saw Geri Ferraro out there, my mind went a million miles an hour. I am so proud. She looks so fabulous. Oh my goodness, I'm so excited. Oh my goodness, I hope she doesn't cry because I know if it was me I'd be so overwhelmed I think I might cry. Oh God, don't cry – that would ruin everything. Oh no, she looks fabulous! This is so exciting!
And for the first time in my life, I personally identified with a candidate running for the top offices in this country. For the first time, I saw myself in that nominee. I saw myself standing up there.
Now the guys here who are so supportive of women's issues cannot, I think, appreciate the emotional impact of what it means for the first time to see a woman standing there and know that she understands my life. She not only will fight for my rights because she believes in them, but she will fight for my rights because they're her rights, too.
And so as we go into the presidential election and we see Hillary Clinton as the front-runner in this effort, I remember the pride I felt when Geraldine Ferraro stood up there. And I know the pride we will feel if we elect the first woman president.
And I would like to share our second video with you.
VIDEO: The day will be special. The motorcade will leave the White House, head up Pennsylvania Avenue on its way to the Capitol, surrounded by the great monuments to those who came before. The crowd will gather. Thousands will come; millions will remember. Bands will play. Leaders will assemble to pay tribute to the nation and to the office. The wind will blow perhaps a bit harder that day. The crowd will quiet. A hand will rise, and just as those who have come before a new commander in chief will take the oath. But this time, for the very first time in American history, the words will be spoken – Madam President. EMILY's List – where history is made.
MALCOLM: EMILY's List is where history is made. If you want to build a progressive America, I hope you would join us in that effort. Thank you all very much.
We have time for a couple of questions? One question.
[audience members asks question]
MALCOLM: I have not run for any offices. My job is to make sure everybody else runs. – like you. It makes a tremendous difference, and I just want to close with how important it is, I think, to the future of our country that we incorporate the perspectives of life experiences, the talents, the passion of women in the political process. And as we look at the Congress and all the bipartisan – the fighting back and forth, the gridlock, the lack of direction – I think we need women in there to make things change, to make things work for women and families, and to make a positive difference for our country. Whether you're a man or a woman, I think you can understand why I think it's time to give women a shot. We're doing a great job and I hope you will join EMILY’S List at emilyslist.org and be a part of making history with us. Thank you all very much.
Talks at Google. (2007, June 26). Women@Google: Ellen Malcolm [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5vWIC5Bf6I