Public policy is becoming increasingly diverse as record numbers of women take on roles within the U.S. government and throughout the field. On March 9th, Leadership Connect and the National Governors Association hosted a panel of dynamic women leaders in public policy from the Louisiana Governor’s Office, McKinsey & Company, and the Department of Commerce. They discussed the progress that’s been made, the impact women have on the field, and insights into how women and organizations can thrive through representation.
Here are the key takeaways:
Women have taken strides but there’s more to be done. Here’s how organizations can continue the progress.
In the last decade, women have entered the field of policy at record-high rates. Their impact can be seen across the public sector ecosystem and at all levels of government. But there is still more to be done in organizations’ efforts to recruit and retain women in public policy.
How women can thrive, not just survive in policy.
At times, women can be the “unsung heroes” of the policy space. But making the world of public policy a place where women can thrive is critical. This means prioritizing economic security and wellness.
Decision-makers, remember that people are policy.
When the public sector ecosystem empowers women, more equitable policies are put forth. Organizations should remember that the people around the table influencing policies should reflect the people they seek to help. At its core, public policy is meant to serve the people.
How women can harness the value of networking and community.
It is important for women to surround themselves with a community of like-minded and value-driven people who can help them reach new heights. As entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn once said, “Your network is your net worth.”
Recognize the importance of mentorship: “Each one, Teach one”
Finding mentorship has immeasurable impacts on the careers of women in policy. Our panelists spoke of the value their mentors provided to them along their career journeys. The African proverb, “Each one, Teach one” is a saying to live by.
How organizations can benefit from equipping women for success.
Increasing the number of women in public policy leads to better outcomes and a return on investment for all organizations. More perspectives drive innovation. We all have an incentive to ensure women are represented and empowered across the public sector.
How women can be empowered to chart the path forward.
While there may be barriers to entry, this should never discourage anyone from entering the field of policy. Your voice and perspective are needed.