HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 27, 2014 – High Point University is one of 50 campuses in the nation where Elect Her–Campus Women Win, the only program that trains college women to run for student government and future political office, will be offered in 2014-15.
Elect Her is a joint program of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start that offers leadership training to women students, then shows them how to use skills and tools they gained from the program to launch successful campaigns for student government positions or local office.
Leaders of HPU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program applied for the Elect Her training as it coincides with the department’s WAGE (Women’s and Gender Equity Leadership) Project being hosted on campus throughout the academic year. WAGE fosters leadership and professional development skills in students across disciplines and is being funded by a Think Big! Grant from HPU.
“Elect Her encourages women to think about running for office or positions of leadership in general both on and off campus,” says Dr. Jenn Brandt, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. “It focuses on what goes into a campaign, how women position themselves as strong candidates and much more. We look forward to empowering our students to run for office on campus, in the community, and perhaps in Raleigh or Capitol Hill someday.”
“Elect Her is a response to political science scholarship documenting persistent gender gaps in individuals’ willingness to run for office,” adds Dr. Alixandra Yanus, assistant professor of political science who led HPU’s application for the program. “Regardless of age, family situation, or other social indicators, women are more likely to underestimate their political skills and less likely to see themselves as qualified candidates for political office.”
According to program organizers, many Elect Her alumnae have taken the skills and tools they learned from the leadership training program and used them to launch successful campaigns for student government positions and even for local office. This year Elect Her will reach 13 new schools in five new states, including Iowa, one of four states that have yet to elect a woman to either chamber of Congress.
“We are thrilled with the growth of Elect Her. We want to change the face of politics. The fact that there are four states that have never sent a woman to Capitol Hill only tells part of the story. Nearly half of all the states have yet to elect woman governor or senator,” said Kate Farrar, AAUW’s vice president of campus leadership programs. “Bottom line: We need to close the leadership gap. After all, having women in public office is critical to the health, safety and prosperity of a nation.”