Judge Kaye Hearn will lead the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the first woman to be their Chief Justice.
For a group gathering in South Carolina this weekend, this is the kind of news they want to hear more often.
Over the weekend, Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics is holding its 2009 Leading Women conference and campaign school.
Spokeswoman Barbara Rackes of Columbia says,”Again South Carolina is at the bottom of the rankings. We are fiftieth in the country, less than 10 percent of our elected officials are women.”
The group, formed in late 2007, is the only 501(c)(3) solely dedicated encourage and train women to run for political office…whatever the party or office.
“This is a bipartisan group,”says Rackes, “and I like to jokingly refer to it as a multi-partisan group, because each of us has our own political opinion. But we are bound by our bylaws to be very close to fifty-fifty in terms of Republican and Democrat. We do have two people on our board who identify themselves as Independent.”
Rackes says yes, women lead differently.
“It’s not that there just has to be some kind of equal share. We’re not espousing it only because we want to have 50 percent of representation in skirts to trousers. It’s because women makes decisions differently. Women have a much less confrontational approach to solving problems. Why is that? Because we have not had the measure of authority in many cases that men have had,”says Rackes.
This weekend’s campaign school is sold out, with 70 slots taken by women throughout the region who want national and state leaders to coach them into public leadership of some kind.
The success rate so far? Three women were elected to office who attended their first training school. As the Institute prepares for a soon-to-come campaign season, they have much work to do to reach their goal of a three-fold increase in the state running for office.
The group this weekend also honors former U-S Representative Liz Patterson of the Upstate and former State Education Superintendent Barbara Nielson.