Sunday, November 17, 2013

Elect Her!

Last week, I had the exciting opportunity to facilitate an Elect Her training at the University of Louisville.  Elect Her – Campus Women Win is the only program in the country that encourages and trains college women to run for student government and future political office.  Elect Her is a nonpartisan collaboration between the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start.

The earlier a candidate begins to run for office, the better are his or her chances of climbing the political ladder faster. Twelve of the last nineteen U.S. presidents started their political careers before age 35. When the path to achieve significant political influence and chair a committee is based on seniority, a candidate benefits from being elected when they are young. Additionally, over forty percent of the women who currently serve in Congress began their political careers by serving in student government in their youth. 

A recent study by Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox showed that the gender gap in political ambition is evident in college students.  My personal experience concurs with their research. Ten years ago at UC Berkeley, I ran for External Affairs Vice President.  I had over 2,000 votes, but lost by 72.  I considered it the greatest failure of my young adult life.  Ultimately, I feel I lost because I didn't believe in myself.  I wish I had the opportunity to gain confidence through a program like Elect Her.  

Regardless, running for student government was one of the most transformative leadership experiences I have ever had. I expanded my comfort zone in ways I never thought were possible.  I gained valuable public speaking experience.  I learned how to network and present myself professionally.  I built relationships with people who are still my best friends ten years later.  Win or lose, running for student government is a leadership endeavor more young women need to pursue. 
2013 Elect Her by the Numbers
  • 88 percent of the 2013 participants who ran for student government president WON! 
  • 20 percent more students plan to run for student government and political office.  
  • 100 percent of participants reported that they would recommend Elect Her to a friend.


  1. Willamette can't wait to have you as our Facilitator!

    - Willamette's Elect Her Planning Committee

  2. Thank you! I am very excited to meet everyone soon!