Presentations by Claire Guthrie Gastañaga
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Tips on Lobbying
Annual Conference, Southern Women in Public Service, May 2001

Tips on Lobbying

Learn the culture – staff vs. member

Learn the procedural rules (formal and informal)

Be fearless

Recognize your limits

Find your allies

Identify your opposition

Look for win/win or acceptable compromise (use radicals to make you look moderate)

Educate yourself about the double binds* faced by women:

Women can exercise their brains or their wombs, but not both.
Women who speak out are immodest and will be shamed, while women who are silent will be ignored or dismissed.
Women are subordinate whether they claim to be different or the same.
Women who are considered feminine will be judged incompetent, and women who are competent, unfeminine.
As men age, they gain wisdom and power; as women age, they wrinkle and become superfluous.

Pay attention to how you are marketing yourself. Like it or not, how you dress, wear your hair, talk, all affect how you are perceived.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. You are presenting a “case” to a difficult jury. If you don’t know your stuff, no one will pay any attention to what you say. Guys can lie and get away with it, women can’t. A woman who loses trust can never regain it.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Use humor to defuse “difficult” situations.

Keep things professional. Develop relationships by providing information and opportunities and making yourself indispensable.

References: www.political1.com, www.politicsonline.com, www.pollingreport.com

*Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership, Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Leading Out Loud, Terry Pearce

Talking 9 to 5, Deborah Tannen

Women for a Change: A Grassroots Guide to Activism and Politics, Thalia Zepatos & Elizabeth Kaufman

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