Our Local Positions
The League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area has adopted positions on five issues.
- Fiscal Policy
- Land Use
We sponsors a series of 8 or 9 lectures on foreign affairs coordinated with the Williamsburg Regional Library. The lecture topics are chosen by the Foreign Policy Association and held on Tuesday mornings in February and March.
Lectures begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. Speakers are experts on the topics and usually come from Virginia or the Washington, DC/New York areas. Thanks to Zoom, we may now recruit speakers from outside our area.
Our Mission and Roles
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government, influencing public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate. The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.
- Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues, as a nonprofit public policy educational organization. For voter service and citizen education activities, we may use funds from the League of Women Voters Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization.
- Action/Advocacy: also nonpartisan, but after topical study and position creating, advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation. Our Visions, Beliefs and Intentions guide our activities.
Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions: The principles that guide our organization
- acts after study and member agreement to achieve solutions in the public interest on key community issues at all government levels
- builds citizen participation in the democratic process
- engages communities in promoting positive solutions to public policy issues through education and advocacy
- builds citizen participation in the democratic process
- studies key community issues at all governmental levels in an unbiased manner
- enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management
- respect for individuals
- the value of diversity
- the empowerment of the grassroots, both within the League and in communities
- act with trust, integrity and professionalism
- operate in an open and effective manner to meet the needs of those we serve, both members and the public
- take the initiative in seeking diversity in membership
- acknowledge our heritage as we seek our path to the future
The League Process for Lobbying
The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position. Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.
Additional discussion takes place as members outside the study committee learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions.
It is the consensus statement that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.
Links to other League sites:
Useful Virginia sites:
The League of Women Voters started when women won the right to vote.
In her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, Missouri, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a “league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation.” The League of Women Voters was formed within the NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where suffrage had already been attained. The next year, on February 14, 1920 – six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified – the League was formally organized in Chicago as the national League of Women Voters. Catt described the purpose of the new organization:
The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?
Maud Wood Park became the first national president of the League and thus the first League leader to rise to the challenge. She had steered the women’s suffrage amendment through Congress in the last two years before ratification and liked nothing better than legislative work. From the very beginning, however, it was apparent that the legislative goals of the League were not exclusively focused on women’s issues and that citizen education aimed at all of the electorate was in order.
Since its inception, the League has helped millions of women and men become informed participants in government. In fact, the first league convention voted 69 separate items as statements of principle and recommendations for legislation. Among them were protection for women and children, right of working women, food supply and demand, social hygiene, the legal status of women, and American citizenship. The League’s first major national legislative success was the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act providing federal aid for maternal and child care programs. In the 1930s, League members worked successfully for enactment of the Social Security and Food and Drug Acts. Due at least in part to League efforts, legislation passed in 1938 and 1940 removed hundreds of federal jobs from the spoils system and placed them under Civil Service.
During the postwar period, the League helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. Participation. The League was one of the first organizations in the country officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization; it still maintains official observer status today.
See also history from the national League.