Last night, members of the Yale and New Haven community were recognized for their efforts to increase women’s involvement in politics.
The Women’s Campaign School at Yale, a non-profit organization preparing women for public office, held an awards banquet at the Belvedere Conference Center, in which a variety of awards were given for contributions to the program. Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz ’83 presented Alieta-Marie Lynch, a senior administrative assistant at the Yale Law School, and Yale chemistry professor Iona Black with the Yale University Award for their involvement in the Campaign School.
While presenting the awards, Bysiewicz said though there has been a lot of success at the state level in promoting women’s involvement in politics, with women serving as four of the six Connecticut state constitutional officers, there is a lot more work to be done around the country.
“I would encourage all women to run for office,” she said. “It is a wonderful profession. Consider serving at a local board or commission. If I can run for office, my message is that you can as well.”
Lynch, who works with Katie Stith, the Law School’s faculty sponsor of the Women’s Campaign School, serves as the liaison between the Yale Law School and the Campaign School. Lynch said one of her main duties involves coordinating the Campaign School’s Summer Session, a five-day educational program held at the Yale Law School to prepare women for political campaigning.
Lynch said the Yale Law School has greatly contributed to the success of the Campaign School by allocating funds, lending its name to the program, and hosting the summer session.
“It is vital that the Women’s Campaign School continues to empower women so that our voice can be heard,” Lynch said. “I am proud to be fostering this connection between the Yale Law School and the Campaign School.”
Event chair Barbara De Baptiste said Black was awarded recognition because she “worked behind the scenes at everything.” De Baptiste said Black always promoted the interests of the Campaign School without seeking personal recognition.
“I do a good job because of the people that are around me,” Black said in a brief acceptance speech. “Through [the Women’s Campaign School], my students have run for office and won.”
In addition to awards presented to members of the Yale Community, three other individuals were recognized for their contributions during the banquet. Etha Henry, the vice president for programs of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, received the Community Service Award. Patricia Carbine, the co-founder of Ms. Magazine, a feminist publication begun in 1971, was presented with the George Alden Dean Award. This award is the most prestigious recognition given by the Women’s Campaign School.
“In Ms. Magazine we were trying to change the world,” Carbine said. “We fought for credit equity, equal rights in education and — reproductive rights. There aren’t enough women in office to protect our hard-fought advances.”