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The Overton Window & The Gender Lens Project

Named for James Overton--who, we've just learned was a leading Libertarian--the Overton Window refers to the range of policies considered allowable by the average person. Basically, it is the window of acceptable discourse. (It makes us think of Philip Larkin's poem, Born Yesterday: "Nothing uncustomary/To pull you off your balance.")

Why are we starting out 2020 talking about the Overton Window?

Because the issues that matter to us, the policies that we want to see enacted--for the good of everyone in the Equality State--currently fall *outside* of the range of acceptable discourse in Wyoming. Without shifting the Overton Window, important issues like the gender wage gap and Medicaid Expansion may continue to be overlooked or dismissed.

Which is why we've partnered with the Equality State Policy Center to launch The Gender Lens Project.

WWAN co-founder, Jen Simon, will be working with the Equality State Policy Center (ESPC) over the next year to ensure that policy around the state fully considers women and girls. The Gender Lens Project will shift the statewide conversation to ensure that policy and legislative discussions fully consider 100% of all of Wyoming's citizens. And to ensure that we shift the Overton Window.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Cogent analysis of proposed policy and legislation in terms of its implications and impact on women and girls.

  • Proposals about how to develop more equitable policy.

  • Policy briefs and op-eds published around the state and in regional and national publications looking at the benefits to the state by adopting more equitable policy. Check out Jen's monthly column, Equity State, in the JH N&G.

  • Presentations (in a community near you!) talking about all of this and inviting you to engage on a grassroots level. Upcoming: 1/8 Soroptimist of Jackson Hole, 1/14 JH Rotary Club, 1/22 Pinedale's WCF Committee. February: SE Wyoming, we'll announce more soon.

Already, we're hearing stories from women around the state.

Women whose workplaces are set up for the benefit of their male counterparts. Women whose pregnancies become question marks for their working conditions. Women whose caregiving responsibilities limit their economic opportunities. And we're using those stories to inform the policy discussions we're having and inviting legislators to have.

You can help us! Here's how:

  • Attend the upcoming Legislative Session. (Or, in the next two weeks, the final 10 days of meetings of the Joint Appropriations Committee. Btw: that committee has *zero* women on it.) Listen carefully. Are women's experiences reflected in those discussions? Are women's needs discussed at all? If so, how are they being talked about and lifted up in policy decisions?

  • Attend local meetings--like your Town Council or County Commission--and pay attention to how often men and women speak. Consider whether women's voices are equal in the discussion and how that affects the discussions they're having.

  • Share your own story! Submit it to this website or email us at and we'll reach out to talk more about it.

  • Sign up for updates from WWAN. You can count on us to call it like we see it.

  • And sign up for updates from ESPC or attend their upcoming SHAPE training to learn to be a citizen lobbyist. You won't be sorry!

Thanks for signing up, joining in, and speaking out!


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