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Making Our Communities Work For Us; Women and the Political Process

A new study published in April put a simmering question on the front burner. Cathy DeLuca’s report — “An Examination of Women’s Representation and Participation in Bicycle Advisory Committees in California” — clearly indicated what many of us see in our own communities: not nearly enough women are at the table when decisions about bike/ped planning take place.

DeLuca will be among the panelists when we dig into this discussion at the National Women’s Bicycling Summit on September 13 in Long Beach, Calif. Read more about this break-out session below and check out the full Summit program and speakers list here.

Be part of the conversation; register today!

(Clockwise from top left) Williams, Lantz, DeLuca, Sahli-Wells

Making Our Communities Work For Us; Women and the Political Process

Twenty-four percent of all bike trips in the U.S. in 2009 were made by women, yet women make up 50 percent of the U.S. population. To increase the number of women riders, we must make sure our communities are designed to work for women. Confirmed time and again at the local, state and federal level, women’s interests are best served when women are engaged as civic leaders and lawmakers. However, women continue to be underrepresented in political office and on civic committees. In 2011, only 24 percent of members on California bicycle and/or pedestrian advisory committees were women. In 2012, only 12 percent of governors, 24 percent of U.S. state legislators, and 17 percent of U.S. Congressional members were women. Through engaging presentations, our panelists will share how they became involved in civic committees and elected office. We will discuss the latest research on women’s involvement in bicycle and pedestrian committees and explore how to encourage more women who bicycle to become involved in civic committees and elected office.


  • Alexis Lantz is a policy analyst with the Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) Program at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Previously, she was the Planning & Policy Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). During her tenure at LACBC she conducted the first ever citywide bicycle and pedestrian count for the City of Los Angeles and had a hand in shaping policies in the city and county of Los Angeles to increase infrastructure for bicycling as well as the amount and diversity of people bicycling for everyday transportation. She also worked to expand countywide advocacy capacity for bikeways and complete streets through LACBC’s Regional Partnership program. Alexis holds an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA. While at UCLA, she initiated a student-led course on bicycle and pedestrian planning that continues today and authored the report “Cycling in Los Angeles” as a Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative fellow. She is on the Board of the California Bicycle Coalition and steering committee of Los Angeles Walks.


  • Cathy DeLuca fell in love with non-automobile transportation many years ago, and she recently decided to make it the focus of her career. In December 2011, she completed a master’s degree in urban planning from San Jose State University, with a specialization in transportation planning. During school, she worked with bicycle planners in Santa Cruz and San Jose. For her master’s thesis, Cathy studied women’s participation in bicycle advisory committees in California — a topic that combined her interests in bicycle planning, politics, and gender equality. The Mineta Transportation Institute published her study in the spring of 2012. Most recently, Cathy has worked on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Team at the Alameda County Transportation Commission.
  • Meghan Sahli-Wells is a community organizer and Culver City Councilmember. Inspired by her nine years living car-free in Paris, Sahli-Wells helped to craft Culver City’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, then co-founded the Culver City Bicycle Coalition. She was elected to the Council in April 2012 and is only the 5th woman to be elected to the Culver City Council in the city’s 95 year history. Meghan is CEO of the non-profit Culver City Downtown Neighborhood Association, whose goal is to enhance community livability by providing education and advocacy for sustainable development, ecology, healthy transportation, and civic engagement. She also organizes for Transition Culver City, part of the international Transition Town movement that seeks to create resilient communities capable of moving beyond fossil-fuel dependency and into a sustainable future. With two sons attending elementary school, Sahli-Wells is an active member of the school’s Green Team and Safe Routes to School committee. Recipient of the 2010 Democrat of the Year Award by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (47th AD), Sahli-Wells is a National Women’s Political Caucus L.A. Westside 2012 Remarkable Woman honoree.
  • Felicia Williams commutes by bike 50-75 miles per week and is on the Board of the Los Angeles non-profit C.I.C.L.E. that promotes the bicycle as a healthy and sustainable mode of transportation. Ms. Williams is also an appointed official in the City of Pasadena on the Board of the Pasadena Center Operating Company that operates the civic auditorium, convention center, and Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her previous appointments include the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Commissions. Her professional background is in finance with experience in the energy, investment banking, and real estate industries. Ms. Williams has a B.A. from Stanford University in Urban Studies, an M.A. from UCLA in Urban Planning, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Register for the Women’s Summit here!


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