THE BLOG
10/03/2014 05:36 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2014

Porn Scandal Could Propel Plan W's Success

The recent porn scandal involving Pennsylvania government officials, combined with questions about the handling of the investigation into former Penn State Jerry Sandusky's child molestation charges, could be a tipping point for Pennsylvania women. Plan W, a recently launched state-wide PAC encouraging the appointment of women to leadership position, hopes so.

Pa Attorney General Kathleen Kane discovered sexually explicit emails when she was reviewing her office's investigation of Jerry Sandusky's child molestation. The Inquirer described the emails this way: The e-mails include photos and videos of women and men engaged in oral sex, anal sex, and intercourse. The videos have titles such as "Cigar," "Chin strap," "Golf Ball washer," and "Rocking Horse." The photographs included naked women and motivational posters, with slogans such as "Devotion" and "Willingness," that depicted women performing sex acts on their male bosses."

Kane found that 38 former employees of the Attorney General's office, which was then headed by Governor Tom Corbett, received and distributed the emails. Two of them, Secretary of the Pa Department of Environmental Protection E. Christopher Abruzzo and the department's deputy chief counsel Glenn Parno, have already resigned. Other prominent government officials that received the porn emails are current State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and chairman of the state Gaming Control Board Frank Ryan, Jr.

The porn scandal underscored the need for more women in government. Comedian Bill Maher, who is known more for his misogyny than feminism, argued, "Any institution where there's no women around--like the Church, like football, like the Middle East, like fraternities--things go to shit. He later reiterated the stance among the ladies of The View. "When men are just among men, they do stupid things."

There are other reasons the timing of the launch of Plan W might be fortuitous. There will be no women in the 21 member Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, 19 members of Congress and 2 US Senators, come this January with the retirement of Allyson Schwartz from the 13th Congressional district. In fact, the entire Delaware Valley region will be bereft of female representation if Aimee Belgard doesn't win Jon Runyon's former seat in New Jersey.

The idea for the Plan 4 originated with Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards. It's mission is to encourage more women to run for office and volunteer to serve on community boards. The PAC will also support men that pledge to appoint more women.

Richards based the PAC on her own experience in public service. Despite having a degree in planning, she hesitated before accepting a position on her local township's park and recreation board: questioning whether she was even qualified to serve. She noted that women typically don't volunteer but have to be asked to be served.

Now, as one of three commissioners of Montgomery County, she is determined to be more inclusive of women. Her fellow commissioners come to discussions about appointments prepared with a list of potential women candidates because they know she is going to ask.

Men opened and closed the introductory program, which was packed with eager, excited women, in a sure sign that women in Pennsylvania have a long way to go. Former Governor Ed Rendell invoked his support for the concept by using Mitt Romney's inartful words. He said, "Twenty years ago, we really needed binders full of women to find eligible women for appointments."