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Archive for the ‘Elect Her-Campus Women Win’ Category

Like many people across the country, AAUW and Running Start are celebrating the record number of women who are now getting settled in the 113th Congress. Every year, we collaborate to encourage and train college women to run for student government with Elect Her–Campus Women Win, and these congresswomen exemplify many of the lessons we teach during those trainings.

Women in 113 Congress

Some of the women of the 113th Congress

We always start out our Elect Her trainings with a discussion of why having women in office is a win-win for everyone. Women’s political representation comes with many benefits:

  • More women in government results in a more balanced and productive work environment. Just ask Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who believes more women at the table would have eased discussions of the fiscal cliff. “With all deference to our male colleagues, women’s styles tend to be more collaborative,” she said. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) agrees: She says women “know how to compromise and how to set our egos aside. It’s more part of our DNA.”
  • Also, when women are at the table, government tends to be more ethical and less corrupt. This year we will watch as longtime consumer advocate and fighter of Wall Street corruption Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes her seat on the Senate Banking Committee.

If women bring so much to the table, why don’t more women run for office?

  • It’s no secret that women face much more media scrutiny than their male peers. Just this week, a profile of freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) noted her love of designer clothing and accused her of — get this — talking too much.
  • The adage “you can’t be what you can’t see” holds true as well. Many women think government is not for them because they don’t see women in office. That is about to change, thanks to the most diverse Congress in history. We’re continuing to see that government is no longer just for white men — anyone can run for office and win. The demographics and stereotypes are dissolving. Among many other firsts, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is the first practicing Hindu to be elected to Congress. She was even sworn in using the Bhagavad-Gita!

At every Elect Her training, we end with a few more words of encouragement and reasons why college women should run for office:

As the spring 2013 Elect Her trainings get underway next month, I am excited to continue talking about and learning from the women of the 113th!

 

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Photo by Nily Rozic Nily Rozic was asked multiple times to run for office before she seriously considered it. The 26-year-old New York state assemblywoman-elect admits she was asked “over and over” to run, which is not an unusual thing to hear from female candidates.

AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run recently held a conference call for alumnae of Elect Her–Campus Women Win — a program that trains college women to run for student government — with the goal of encouraging these remarkable young women to run for public office. The call, which targeted students who have been through Elect Her and held student leadership positions, aimed to get these women to think about running for office after college and to share the steps they can be taking now to prepare for a career in politics. As one of the speakers on the call, Rozic shared her own story, which touched on all of the tips that AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run typically share with attendees.

1. Go Local

Rozic knew she wanted to do something to give back to the neighborhood where she grew up, so she made sure to take leadership roles in her community. Rozic first advises becoming a leader in your own community, whatever role it may be. Ramping up your involvement in things you already care about is a great way to build leadership skills that will help you eventually run for office.

2. Start Now

Rozic was not afraid of jumping into the ring at a young age, and she encouraged the Elect Her alums to do the same. “You’ve just got to start,” she said, and you’ll discover that there are people who are ready to jump in and support you. Rozic said several political trainings were invaluable to her, especially in finding and developing mentors. For a list of trainings across the country, visit the Center for American Women in Politics.

3. Try Volunteering

A third way for young women to take their political experience to the next level is by taking a paid, intern, or volunteer position for a political campaign or in a current political leader’s office. Rozic landed her first government job working for a member of the New York State Assembly, where she got a feel for what government was like and eventually worked her way up to chief of staff. There are great opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels. For instance, try volunteering on a campaign — you can reach out to the local Republican or Democratic parties to find out more about the candidates. Or you can contact a local or state elected official to find out about opportunities. Each U.S. congressional office manages its own internship program, so look on your representatives’ websites to find out more. Nonprofits also organize internships with members of Congress through programs like Running Start’s Star Fellowship Program.

Ultimately, Rozic urges young women to embrace their youth when running for office. Our elected officials need to be representative of all types of people, and being young is not a disadvantage: “You’re ahead of the curve!”

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Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains college women to run for student government. Follow the links below to read highlights from this fall’s trainings.

Networking, Planning, Preparing to Run!Louisiana State University

Since many of LSU’s student government officers were in the room during the What’s Your Issue? exercise (where students choose their platforms), the officers were able to start a dialogue about some of the campus issues the attendees brought up and make plans to follow up on the concerns.

Working toward Political Parity, One Student Government Seat at a TimeUniversity of Louisville

Those who attended the Elect Her training clearly embodied the spirit of the program: women who are tuned into critical issues on campus and in their communities stepping up to work for a positive impact.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes for the campaign simulation exercise.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes in a campaign simulation exercise.

Working Together to Support Women CandidatesHoward University

Every speaker at this Elect Her training had a unique story, but one point rang true for all three: You need to show up, and often! All three speakers stressed that showing their faces at events and talking to people (especially on election day) was a defining factor in their victories.

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To most of our AAUW Dialog readers, it’s no secret that women’s representation in American politics is appallingly low. Women make up just 17 percent of the U.S. Congress, 24 percent of state legislators, and 23 percent of state executive officers. The numbers are even lower for women under 40 and for women of color. The United States is ranked 80th in the world for women’s representation in national politics, behind countries like Uganda, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Yowza.

With Election Day looming, these numbers are always in the forefront of my mind as women’s issues are ignored or attacked by political candidates. The truth is, when we don’t have women in the pipeline for political office, we can’t be guaranteed someone at the table will be representing our interests.

It is for that exact reason that AAUW and Running Start teamed up for Elect Her–Campus Women Win, the only national program that encourages and trains college women to run for office in student government and beyond. We are excited to announce the 39 colleges and universities that will be offering these trainings for women on their campuses this spring. Stay informed about Elect Her via Facebook, and send any questions about the program to leadership@aauw.org.

New Sites in 2013

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California

California State University, Chico, California

Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York

Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont

North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina

Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

Sierra College, Rocklin, California

University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Returning Sites

Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina

Denison University, Granville, Ohio

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mount San Jacinto College, Menifee, California

Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina

University of Texas, Arlington, Texas

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

University of the West Indies, Mona; Kingston, Jamaica

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia

Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

Willamette University, Salem, Oregon

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

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Do you work at or attend a college or university? Are you looking for leadership or funding opportunities? Yes? You are in luck! Applications are now available for three of our great leadership programs. Take action soon — the deadlines are coming up!

Elect Her–Campus Women Win

Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains young women to run for student government on their campuses. Any student, AAUW member, or campus faculty or staff member can apply on behalf of a campus to host the program during the 2013 spring semester.

In 2012, Elect Her was held at 28 sites for more than 600 participants, 99 percent of whom would recommend the training to a friend.

“I was able to meet some incredible women who had been in my position before and create connections with them to help me succeed.”—Boise State University participant

Visit the Elect Her web page to access the application and for more information about the program. Applications are due September 30, and selections will be announced by October 7. AAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process..

National Student Advisory Council

College students nationwide can apply to serve on the AAUW National Student Advisory Council for the 2012–13 academic year. The 10 selected SAC members will travel to Washington, D.C., in early November for a retreat and then again in June for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. They will have the unique opportunity to advise a national women’s group, hone their leadership skills, and network with student leaders and distinguished women.

“AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. … One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.” — Laura Corrigan, 2011–12 SAC member, St. Mary’s College

Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Applications are due September 30, and the new SAC will be announced by October 7. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

AAUW Campus Action Projects

This year’s CAP grant program focuses on the issues raised in AAUW’s upcoming research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation. The report explores the reasons behind the pay gap between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation as well as the relationship between the pay gap and student debt repayment.

Campus Action Project teams will have the opportunity to address these issues on their campuses and in their communities during the spring semester with projects like educational workshops, awareness campaigns, art or video contests, and other creative ideas. Teams will share their experiences at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June 2013.

Applications must be submitted by October 19, 2012, andAAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process. Applicants will be contacted byNovember 9, and teams will be announced at the official report release event on November 15.

I hope you will apply for and spread the word about these amazing opportunities. Also, be sure to check out some of the other campus-based programs AAUW offers.

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Following a February 11 Elect Her–Campus Women Win training, the University of Cincinnati was poised to have more women students step up to the plate as student government leaders. Two Elect Her attendees, Maesa Idries, a senior chemical engineering major, and Mari Young, a freshman graphic communication design major, ran successful campaigns and will be making a difference on campus this fall. Idries will be the student body vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, and Young will be a USG at-large senator. The two women took a moment to share their campaign experiences.

AAUW: Why did you decide to run for campus office?

Idries: I have been involved with student government for a couple of years, and I saw firsthand the positive impact that student representation can have on university operations.

Young: I wanted to get even more involved on campus through a student-led organization that allows me to reach out to people across campus. My goal is to help make this university the best it can be.

AAUW: What were some of your successful campaign strategies?

Idries: My running mate and I worked to be the most accessible candidates. In years past, candidates would run for office using a last name, so we ran using our first names. Our campaign slogan was “Students for Students.” We talked with many student organizations and made sure we were approachable at all times.

Young: Word of mouth is a very valuable campaign strategy. When you get yourself out there, meet different people, and make a lasting impression, they will remember your name and your mission. I believe this helps when it comes down to voting day.

AAUW: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

Idries: All of our platform goals need to be accomplished during our term. These are the promises that we made to the student body, so we must be successful.

Young: I want to work on the student meal plan by offering healthier choices and more flexibility. I also want to make the student body better connected — upperclassmen to lowerclassmen and art students to engineering students. Everyone can benefit from a campus that works together.

AAUW: What are your goals after college?

Idries: I hope to attend graduate school.

Young: I plan on working for magazines doing graphic work and layouts. This is my dream, and I’m determined to make it happen.

AAUW: What advice would you give to other women students who are questioning whether they should run or not?

Idries: You can do it. You should do it. Find people to help you do it. You will be better for having done it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

Young: Go for it. What do you have to lose? Even if you don’t make the cut, you still gained an invaluable experience through campaigning. Just by running, you are a visible campus leader for being courageous enough to put yourself out there.

AAUW: Why do you think Elect Her—Campus Women Win is a valuable program for your campus?

Idries: It was valuable because it provided women on my campus with the confidence to run for office.

Young: Elect Her was so valuable because it showed us what strong-willed women are capable of. It was inspiring to hear the stories from women who have “been there, conquered that,” and to have them tell us we can do it too! With determination, anything can be done, and women need to know that. That is my philosophy now because of Elect Her.

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For as long as I can remember, the term “leadership” has accompanied various activities and outlets that I’ve been part of. I have always defined leadership as having the power to lead a group successfully. However, over time, I have noticed that not everyone has that natural ability to get up and lead. And not every woman feels equipped to voice her opinions, tackle challenges, and step up to leadership positions. Working as the AAUW Leadership Programs intern showed me how beneficial and necessary leadership programs are for college women.

To bring women’s leadership development to the forefront of the college experience, the Leadership Programs Department facilitates $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops, Elect Her–Campus Women Win trainings, Campus Action Projects, the National Student Advisory Council, and the National Conference for College Student Women Leaders. These programs engage college women with AAUW and provide leadership skills and the practice and development of those skills. As a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, I can personally attest that programs like these are essential to navigating college and life after graduation. Being able to connect with accomplished women encourages us and offers us tangible lessons and the tools to go forth without considering gender a barrier to our success.

As a college woman, I truly feel empowered by AAUW’s Leadership Programs Department. I get to be part of efforts that show women that they can be leaders throughout their lives regardless of the cultural obstacles they face. All our programs are growing, which is exciting but requires our team to adjust and constantly be creative to meet the increasing demand. But I know that AAUW will continue to reach out to college women and impact their lives.

Being surrounded by people who are fighting for women’s equity and advancement gives me hope that the day will come when women face no injustices. Women leaders around the country have also inspired me! I can now define leadership as the ability to lead with confidence while providing the tools and support for others to do the same.

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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