Photographs by Michelle Chandra, Communications Associate, Women’s Foundation of California
Each year the Women’s Foundation of California trains up to 30 women on how to use public policy to create change in California. Our Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) fellows learn how to write bills, influence legislators and organize community support to pass proposed legislation. Since 2003, we have trained 200 women on California’s legislative process. WPI fellows have achieved 12 legislative wins: 11 bills passed into law and one resolution passed by the legislature.
Throughout the year, fellows work in issue-focused teams to draft a bill addressing an important problem, challenge or concern. Team issue areas this year include criminal justice reform, economic security, aging justice, environmental justice and labor rights for domestic workers. This past week, our WPI fellows gathered to learn how to design effective messages to rally attention and support for their proposed bills.
During the hands-on workshop, communications strategist John Beilenson talked to the teams about how to frame their messages so that they resonate with shared values, and “stick” in the mind and the heart. There were many lively discussions and collaborations as WPI fellows got down to the nitty gritty details of designing effective messages that use metaphors, stories and clear language to convey the importance of their bills.
The workshop provided critical communications tips that helped the fellows prepare for an intense day of mock hearing in the state capitol. This morning, the fellows did a great job of presenting their bills. They delivered well-thought out responses to the clarifying questions from the mock assembly members who represented supporters and as well as the opposition. What a difference a message makes!