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The Alice Paul Institute
Website Manager
By Website Manager
Published on March 22, 2012
An Interview with API Executive Director Valerie Buickerood.

Tell us about the work of the Alice Paul Institute (API).
The mission of the Alice Paul Institute (API) is to promote full gender equality through education, development and empowerment of leaders. The legacy of Alice Paul provides the foundation and the beacon to develop critical leadership skills, and inspire others to become agents of positive change.

The API’s Heritage Programs focus on Alice Paul’s life and civil rights achievements, history of the Burlington County community she was raised in, and its impact on her life’s work. Being raised in a rural Quaker community, where the notion of equality among the sexes was commonplace, had a profound impact on Alice. When she left this community and realized that gender equality did not exist elsewhere, Alice felt compelled to dedicate herself to changing that for American women and for women worldwide. Two of her most famous quotes convey the impact of her childhood upbringing. When asked why she spent her life dedicated to a single cause, her response was to quote her mother’s advice, “When you put your hand to the plow, you don’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.”  And late in life, invoking the deep seeded notion of equality she was raised with, Alice said, “Some problems, some reforms are complicated, but to me, there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”

What do you see as the primary role of the API?
Education and inspiration! Unless women and men and girls and boys, are aware of what others before them have sacrificed to achieve progress, and unless they are aware that we still have a long way to go before full gender equality is achieved, they will not be moved to act. It is the role of the API to use Alice’s story to inspire others. Our overarching vision is that gender equality is a basic human right. The API seeks to fulfill the life-long mission of Alice Paul to achieve full gender equality worldwide. The API is in a unique position to develop future generations of leaders and human rights activists, demonstrating the extraordinary difference one person can make.

Tell us about the girls' leadership programs at API.
The API seeks to continue Alice’s struggle for equality by providing leadership programs for girls ages 9-18. The Alice Paul Leadership Programs (APLP) provides leadership training using female role models from history. The history piece is what distinguishes our programs.

The programs address the need for positive female role models in a culture where the media falls short of providing for that need. While women have made great strides towards achieving equality in many areas, there is a serious lack of positive female images in the media. The idea that “if they can see it, they can be it” is very true. The API has been a leader in providing positive role models for girls for more than a decade. The role models provided in the programs were carefully selected to be sure that models reflect a variety of fields, demographics and leadership styles so that girls will know that not all leaders are alike. In doing so, they not only have a choice of models to identify with, but they are empowered to develop their own unique leadership style.

We combat the lack of positive contemporary role models in the media. The API fills the gap for girls and young women, and we recognize contemporary female leaders annually with the Alice Paul Equality Award. The award honors individuals that have “captured the spirit of Alice” and advanced the cause of gender equality. More information on this event held in April is on our website.

API is launching a new Alice Paul, CEO series.  Please tell us about it.
Traditionally the API’s leadership pro-grams primarily served adolescent girls, but we recently recognized that young professional women, women re-entering the workforce, and women in mid-career are also interested in developing their leadership skills. We all need a competitive edge and honing the skills that help us stand out as a leader in any field is necessary in these challenging economic times. The strategy, tactics and skills Alice employed to lead a movement are the same skills that can be applied in any career or community activity. So much like our girls’ leadership programs, we’re seeking to empower women to take leadership roles in their professions and in their communities.

The workshops are designed to meet both personal and professional development needs. By holding the workshops at Paulsdale we are able to introduce more women to the API and to Alice Paul. And Paulsdale is a hidden treasure in the community, more people need to know about it and visit the site!

What is on the horizon for API?
The organization has recently completed its three year strategic plan. Simply stated, our goals are to increase education and development of future leaders by providing high-quality education opportunities and increase awareness of Alice Paul and the API. We’d like to increase the number of visitors to Paulsdale through public programs, tours, school based programs, and events. We’d also like to leverage technology to reach a wider audience. With distance learning programs we can spread Alice Paul’s story and raise awareness outside the region to inspire and empower more women to leadership. Our ultimate goal is to have Alice Paul and our programs move us closer to gender equality both nationally and worldwide.

For Paulsdale tours, programs and events, call the Alice Paul Institute at 856-231-1885 or email

As seen in: Burlington County Woman (Spring 2012)