Located in Washington, DC, this nonpartisan organization is dedicated to providing young girls and women with the skills and confidence they need to become political leaders. Founded in 2007, Running Start was formed when the realization that the number of women elected into office and the number of women considering political careers was far too small. The creators of this organization continually support and encourage all young women to consider political careers and bridge the disproportionate gender gap that plagues our government. With more women in government, they can help to solve old problems with new perspectives and introduce issues that are pertinent to their lives that have, historically, been overlooked in politics.
To end the issue of unequal representation, Running Start abides by four different pillars to educate and inspire young women. The first pillar dedicates resources to engaging women in politics at a young age. Because women only make up 19% of Congress and 23% of state legislatures, it is important to empower women at a younger age to get involved in politics. Beginning their career younger increases their chances of obtaining political leadership positions.
The second pillar encourages women to start their political careers younger in order to increase their chances of gaining tenure and seniority which, overall, increases credibility as a leader. Since men tend to start their political careers at a younger age than women, they are able to gain more experience and credibility. With women starting at a young age they, too, can achieve tenured political positions.
Many young women are discouraged from putting themselves forward as possible candidates because they don't feel qualified, don't understand the process of running, and feel like they must be asked to run multiple times before creating a platform and launching a campaign. Running Start's third pillar reassures women that they are just as qualified as men by providing tools and resources that help explain the process of running for office. In addition, they develop programs that encourage young girls to run for leadership positions while in high school and college as well as encouraging young women to run for local government positions. The younger they start, the more qualified they feel.
Their last pillar creates programs that provide young women and girls with hands-on exercises, group projects, and mentorships that develop leadership skills that boost their confidence and ability to run for an elected position. Some of their programs focus on college-aged women where they encourage them to run for student government positions. Other programs train high school girls on running for leadership positions by bringing along women candidates and elected officials to speak about what it is like to run as a young woman. These, however, are just a few of the many programs that Running Start has developed. To learn more about their past, current, and future programs please visit there site, here.
Although these programs are both inspirational and resourceful, it is difficult to find women candidates when there are so few. In the United States, only 1 in 4 political leaders are women and even fewer are women of color. So, Running Start asks young women from all over to be their own inspiration by using the hashtag, #ILookLikeAPolitician, and explaining why. Self-inspiration is just as important as peer inspiration. Young women and girls should remind themselves everyday why they are qualified to run for office.
Running Start selflessly and continually dedicates time, money, and resources to empower women in politics. But, they can't take on this huge task by themselves and they need your help! Please check out their donation page here to learn how you can contribute. With your help, more programs will be funded, more women will be empowered and maybe we can finally elect our first woman president!
Proud millennial, D.C. resident, and a firm believer in equity for all
COPYRIGHT MILLENNIAL POLITICS LLC 2017