Recently, I went to Washington, D.C. to advocate for a cause relative to my first profession (pharmacy). It went pretty well, and I met some interesting people. I even think I had a little street cred with most of the offices because I was a law student. Awesome.
However, I was shocked and frankly appalled by the lack of representation of women by the state of Indiana. I have exactly zero women representing me in Washington. Nationally, there are only 17 women in the Senate, and a little better in the House—78 are women. But this still isn’t anywhere near the total population of 50/50, and friends, that. Must. Change.
As I have conversations with other Indiana women about running for political office, most recently at a showing of the movie, Miss Representation at Butler University, many don’t realize that there are actually initiatives and programs—local, state and national—to help support women who want to run for office. Ladies, we’re not going to see any change until we become the change. Thus, Mr. Shabazz has graciously allowed me the guest blogging opportunity to share with you some of the resources out there to help support women who want to run for office. While the list below isn’t exhaustive, at least it is a start.
Training on How to Run for Office for Women:
The Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series: According to the website, this program began in 1988, from a “Businesswomen for Lugar” lunch. Subsequent to women supporting Senator Lugar to run for office, this series has sprung and now accepts an annual class of women for leadership development in politics and higher offices during a yearlong series. Applications for the next class are typically due by August 1.
Indiana Leadership Forum: This not-for-profit organization is, “dedicated to recruiting and educating Indiana’s most talented business and community leaders for political leadership and community service throughout the state.” This program takes men and women who qualify with an interest in polishing their political leadership skills, and applications for the yearlong series are typically due in mid-August. They also have a strong alumni network.
The White House Project: “The White House Project, a national, nonpartisan [my favorite part, by the way], not-for-profit organization…aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up the U.S. presidency.” Dig. And they host training sessions all around the country to help women support running for office. Indiana is in the Great Lakes district, which you can find contact information here. This organization clearly understands that equality is a must-have in politics. This program has training around the calendar year, so check their website often for updates and programming.
The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University: This is a non-partisan, national issue neutral leadership program, “whose mission is to increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe.” They host a summer program for women, and applications are typically due mid-May. There is a fee to attend (as there are fees with ALL of the programs above, as I understand it) but scholarships are available on a limited basis.)
Why am I telling you about these programs now? Because it is New Year’s resolution time, and now is the time to plan your 2012 ahead. I’m trying to figure out how I can fit one of these programs into my schedule for 2012, and honestly? I hope more Hoosier women are trying (and succeeding) right along with me.
Dr. Erin Albert is an assistant professor, pharmacist, author, entrepreneur, and law student. To follow her blog, logon to erinalbert.com. For more information on Indianapolis for the young professional, follow yuspie.com or @yuspie on Twitter.