Barbara Lee Family Foundation

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation advances women’s equality and representation in American politics and in the field of contemporary art. Our work in both our program areas is guided by our core belief that women’s voices strengthen our democracy and enrich our culture.

Staying Power: Strategies for Women Incumbents

Women incumbents face specific challenges when running for reelection. Against the conventional wisdom to “speak softly,” Staying Power shows that voters think highly of women who own their achievements and stand up to critics. With clear, specific communication about their records, women incumbents can connect with voters and help close the gender gap in political office.

Gender on the Ballot

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation and the Women & Politics Institute at American University are proud to partner for Gender on the Ballot, a nonpartisan project to examine and contextualize gender dynamics in the 2020 election cycle. As the conversation and culture around running for office in the United States continues to evolve, Gender on the Ballot contributes to the national dialogue on gender and politics through accessible content from experts and practitioners.

Our Research

Putting Sexism in its Place on the Campaign Trail

With more women than ever seeking elected office, more women are likely to face sexism on the campaign trail. The decisions of whether and how to address sexism can be complex to navigate for women candidates—this research offers tools to handle it effectively.

Women don't run for office looking for fame or fortune, they run to make a difference.

Barbara Lee

Featured Research

Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women (2019)

For 20 years, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has studied every woman’s campaign for governor on both sides of the aisle, including real-time polling on voters’ views and post-election interviews with candidates and campaign staff. Our Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women offers the most direct, must-know advice we’ve gleaned for women elected officials and candidates running for office, and this 20th Anniversary Edition is a new, concise look at what it takes for a woman to run and succeed. From the personal traits, to actions that convey qualification and likeability, to bouncing back from mistakes or a loss, this nonpartisan guide shows that the challenges women face are surmountable—and they are often countered by strategic advantages

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