Monday, January 12, 2009

Male v. Female lobbyists

In another example of "the world just isn't fair sometimes", I raise the subject of male v. female lobbyists.

These are just my editorial comments, but they may be something to keep in mind if you're getting started in the lobbying world.

If you are new to the game, know that you are always being watched.  You are being watched by legislators, staff, other lobbyists and anyone else who happens to be around.  Men have it pretty easy.  We put on a suit and occasionally get a hair cut.  Women have much more to consider.

A young woman in politics will probably have to decide pretty quickly how she wants to handle the "creepy caucus" in any legislature.  It's kinda self explanatory, but basically there are legislators who look for young ladies around the capitol who they can hook up with.  

I don't think for one instant that this only happens in politics or even that this is more than the smallest minority in any given statehouse, but I still think it's a relevant point.  If you are a young woman, how you dress and how you carry yourself will impact your career well down the road.

My personal shock at this came one day when I asked to speak with a legislator.  He politely listened while I made my case and two young ladies were waiting to speak to him when I was done.  They were on opposing sides of each other on an issue and wanted this legislator to vote for their group.  As I was walking away, the legislator actually said "well, I don't know how I'm going to vote on this one, you ladies may have to strip down to your bra and panties and wrestle for my vote".  

I was shocked.  Just keep that in mind ladies...people are always watching.

1 comment:

  1. If you have class, intelligence and a sense of self worth these issues should not be a problem. I want to be a female lobbyist one day and I plan on using my intelligence, wit and familiarity with the issues to get my desired legislation passed or stopped; not my other "assets," though just having the assets doesn't hurt; just don't use them or expect to be able to use that technique to get your way. Besides, there are more and more female legislators these days and that tactic simply isn't going to fly in those situations; so you better have something to back up those good looks. Also, have thick enough skin to not let comments like the "bra and panties wrestling" one offend you or throw salt in your game. Ladies these days tend to be over sensitive when it comes to comments like that. That was a different generation and stuff like that was completely acceptable back then; they're "Old School" and you can't teach an old dog new tricks. That's just how they are and you just have to be able to deal with it and play along, or just don't talk to that person if it really bothers you.