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Week Four: Reimagining Law and Politics
What We Will Do

Photo of a woman

At the Women and the New American Dream summit in March, we want to imagine ways that women might assume a more visible role in policymaking and political work. More specifically, can higher education play a role in increasing the number of women who want to run for office or help shape the agendas that define both public and private life? The summit also wants to address the legal issues and challenges that confront women that own their own businesses, consume and produce media, and lead non-profit organizations.

Toward that end:

We will host a day-long Legal Institute.

The Ask Legal Institute will offer a series of short talks on issues related to women and the legal system. Summit participants can join the sessions at any time during the day. Here is the schedule of presenters:

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Welcome

9:15 – 9:30 a.m.

Legal & Social Issues in Starting a Business: Julie Phillips (Women's Bar Association)

9:30 – 9:50 a.m.

Colleen Marshall

Legal Issues & the Media: Colleen Marshall (co-anchor NBC4 @ 5:00, 6:00, and 11 pm)
Winner of the 2009 Media General reporting award and a regional Emmy for her "Fight for Ohio" series.

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Evelyn Stratton

Journey to the Bench: Justice Evelyn Stratton (Ohio Supreme Court)
In 1989, she became the first woman to be elected judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. It was there that she earned her reputation as "The Velvet Hammer" for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases. She has served on the Supreme Court of Ohio since 1996.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Legal Issues for Non-profits: Mimi Dane, President of Flying Horse Farms

We will provide a session that showcases the work of women who serve in municipal and statewide public office. Together with policymakers, we want to think about the political climate for women—in public office, on the bench, and in the voting booth.

Why We Will Do It

We don’t see women represented in political life as we should. In the United States, only 16.6% of the seats in Congress are held by women. Only six of the fifty US governors are women. Only 17.5% of mayors (in cities over 30,000 people) are women. We have never had a female President or Vice-President. All this is true—despite the fact that women comprise nearly 51% of the US population.

We need to do more and better. Higher education is taking an active role in ensuring that young women have an opportunity to lead—on campus, in communities, in larger social and political initiatives—and this regional summit is invested in sharing these strategies for change.