WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE THE CALL FOR A MALE SPEAKER OF THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL AND DEMAND THE ELECTION OF A FEMALE SPEAKER TO LEAD WOMEN MAJORITY COUNCIL RELEASE: Wednesday, December 8, 2021 CONTACT: Jessica Haller, firstname.lastname@example.org 914-629-9935 New York, NY — In light of the recent press, and the talk of the Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ involvement in the Speaker’s Race, we would like to reiterate the political power behind the movement for a City Council Speaker who identifies as a woman. With a historic 31 member majority of women, and an historic year for gender representation, women’s groups are working with the new majority to empower them to select a woman speaker. It is unconscionable that Mayor-elect Adams’ would indicate support for only male identified Speaker candidates. The women’s political organizations supporting this statement are all involved in the election of women in NYC through recruitment, endorsement, training and support. These include: 21 in ‘21, Eleanor’s Legacy, Women of Color for Progress, Dare To Run, National Organization for Women in New York City, Vote Mama, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund, #VOTEPROCHOICE and Vote Run Lead. "Current news media notwithstanding, there is a majority women voting bloc that actually has the power to choose the next Speaker. This is not in the hands of the Mayor-elect. We are not willing to accept the boys club of the old New York. Mayor-elect Adams needs to read the room, and when he does, he will see a majority of women, and they are ready to lead." said Jessica Haller, Executive Director of 21 in '21. “New York women are making history and gaining leadership roles throughout the state. We have the first ever women majority leaders of the State Senate and the Assembly, the first woman elected Attorney General and the first ever woman Governor. With our historic women majority nyc council, we must build on all of this success. New York women have always been ready to lead and they finally have the opportunity to show people how women get the job done,” said Sophie Nir, Executive Director of Eleanor's Legacy. “We have entered a new era of New York City politics where more women are winning, leading, and rising up the ranks than ever before. For the first time in its history, the New York City Council has reached gender parity and women are now the majority. It’s time to build on that momentum by selecting a woman to serve as Speaker of New York City Council. Women belong at the decision making table and we are here to stay,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley, Vote Mama Founder & CEO “The women of New York are exhausted. In the past year alone, we organized and turned out to build power for prochoice women, we won an historic number of seats on the city council, we've fought to issue consequences for sexual misconduct in government offices, and now we're watching mayor-elect Adams turn his back on everything we've done” said Heidi Sieck, #VOTEPROCHOICE CEO. “Mayor-elect Adams is deeply mistaken if he thinks he can ignore the political will of the women of New York. We bear much of the burden of this moment in history -- which is exactly why we've just put an historic 31 women on the council. Now, Mayor-elect Adams thinks that he can continue the business as usual by only endorsing men for speaker. But for the first time in history, we have a meaningful seat at the table, and we deserve leadership to reflect that fact.” "Women represent the majority of New York City's electorate and a majority of the city council, yet men will hold all three citywide offices and four of five borough president offices for the next four years. With women running for speaker with experience and clear support for the voting changes that have contributed so much to women's electoral success on the city council, I urge the city council to uphold the principle of gender equality in political leadership in New York City by electing a woman as speaker of the new council." Cynthia Richie Terrell is founder and director of RepresentWomen “There are highly qualified women who are ready to lead. New York City voters clearly want to see more women in leadership positions, they elected more women to the city council than ever in history. To bypass an outstanding woman candidate who can lead the first women-majority chamber doesn’t recognize this history-making moment by voters. Council members should pay that forward.” Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women in New York City “To explicitly decide to not support a woman for Speaker of the City Council would be to ignore the voice of countless New Yorkers. It is important that the new administration center intersectionality and gender justice in its leadership and policies. At a time when we have seen our City elect women and achieve parity at the City level, it is unfair to have the men exclude women out of the conversation and out of these leadership positions. Women have been our pillars. Electing a woman as Speaker of the Council would be a step in the right direction. We stand with our ReSisters in the City Council and will continue to rally around them.“ Women of Color for Progress Leadership Team “Dare to Run is extremely proud of the 31 Women who have been elected to the New York City Council this year. Women are an integral part of the political, social, economic, and cultural landscape of New York City, and our voices and stories need to be heard at every level of government. Women are always a part of the conversation, and should have the tools and training they need to execute successful campaigns for public office. Visit our website at https://www.daretorun.org/ to learn more about our spring training opportunities for women.” - Rachelle Suissa, Founder and President of Dare to Run, Inc. “The people of New York City delivered a clear message electing a majority women bloc to the City Council and yet all citywide elected offices are held by men. It is absolutely unacceptable for there to be an end-run around the many qualified women vying to be Speaker of the City Council” said Danielle Castaldi-Micca, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund Vice President of Political and Government Affairs. “The men who have been elected Mayor, Comptroller, and Public Advocate shouldn’t find it acceptable either. We know that the best way to protect and expand reproductive health, rights and justice is to ensure women have positions of power. Voting for a woman as Speaker would both uphold the voice of the voters, and help ensure that New York City continues to be a leader on gender justice.” “The voters elected a women-of-color majority in the city council. We deserve nothing less than a speaker who reflects that mandate.” Erin Vilardi, founder of Vote Run Lead "New York City, whose voters are 52% women, will finally have fair representation and a majority female City Council for the very first time in January. There are numerous women entering the Council for their first or second term who explicitly and unapologetically centered the needs of women in their campaigns. Countless voters of all genders turned out to help get them elected, recognizing that these are the policies that will move our city forward for everyone. Now should be a time for celebration, for looking forward, and for changing the status quo. Instead, we are worrying if the powers that be will hold the City back in the interests of upholding politics as usual. The will of the voters should be reflected in who is chosen to be next speaker of the chamber. With 31 women holding City Council seats, there is no shortage of qualified candidates," said Marti Speranza Wong, executive director of Amplify Her. ### 21 in ‘21 achieved its goal of gender parity in the NYC Council by supporting and electing 31 women in 2021. 21 in ‘21 builds political power for women by electing women who are running for office in New York City. Our inclusive and active membership, of all genders, endorses and supports these candidates. Eleanor’s Legacy recruits, trains, and supports pro-choice Democratic women to run for state and local office throughout New York. Dare To Run is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and empower women with the skills necessary to run for public office at the local, state and national level of government. #VOTEPROCHOICE is a national political project and technology platform founded in March 2016 by Democrats.com LLC. We connect the nation’s prochoice majority voters with prochoice champion candidates in every election. National Organization for Women in New York City, NOW-NYC amplifies the voices of women and girls through action and accountability. Vote Mama is the first PAC in the country dedicated to increasing the political power of Democratic moms by disrupting the systems that hold women back through direct financial support, mentorship, and endorsements The National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund (NIRH Action Fund) is an advocacy group that builds political power for reproductive freedom. We partner with allied groups in states and cities to elect candidates who stand up for everyone’s right to control their reproductive lives, and work with elected officials to protect and advance reproductive rights. Women of Color for Progress (WCP) is a multi-strategy political organization founded by women of color for women of color. Through a racial equity and intersectional lens, WCP empowers women of color to excel, lead, represent, and be heard. WCP aims to create an inclusive and transparent political system that focuses on progressive human rights legislation. Ultimately, we hope to not only elect women of color into public office but also create a pipeline of women of color political leaders. Vote Run Lead trains women to run for office. And win. We envision a world where women are the majority of office holders at every level and we are on a mission to make that a reality. Amplify Her was created to directly address women’s shocking underrepresentation in NYC’s elected offices. With a passionate army of volunteers Amplify Her powers the campaigns of progressive women who are inspirational and transformational candidates ready to challenge the machine. Our mission is to amplify women’s voices so our values and diversity are represented citywide. RepresentWomen’s mission is to strengthen our democracy by advancing reforms that break down barriers to ensure more women can run, win, serve, and lead. Even following several "record"-breaking election cycles for women candidates, women continue to be underrepresented at every level of elected office.