We know that when women run for office they win at the same rates as men. The problem is they don’t run at the same rate. One reason? They aren’t asked to run.
A deeper conversation with daughters
From a very young age, girls are aware that leadership positions are far more often held by men than by women -- and this shapes their expectations about their own abilities and can dissuade them from pursuing leadership positions themselves. As Marian Wright Edelman wisely said, "you can't be what you can't see."
We can help to undo these expectations by having conversations that look at the implicit messages young women absorb about leadership.
To facilitate this conversation, take a look at some of the resources below or begin by asking your daughter (or another young woman in your life) questions like:
- When you think of electing a President, what do you think this person looks like? Do you imagine a man or a woman?
- Why do you think that we've only had male Presidents and no female Presidents?
- What would help make more girls feel like they could be President?
- Would you want to run for school or class President? Why or why not?
She Should Run Parents’ Course, including discussion and activities:
- The She Should Run Parents' Course is a three-lesson guide for fostering leadership in young girls. The course activities are designed for girls aged five and nine, while the course readings are relevant for girls of all ages.
- Lessons are comprised of activities, readings, and tips for conversation. Lessons are organized around goals: sparking girls' interest and curiosity in politics and public service; confidence building; and fostering and encouraging leadership.
IGNITE Toolkit: How to Engage Your Preteen Daughter in Politics
- The IGNITE Toolkit for pre-teens includes conversation guides for talking to pre-teens about two discussion topics: women as political leaders and dissecting social issues.
- The Toolkit also provides activities, including watching a debate and volunteering in your community
IGNITE Toolkit: How to Engage your Teen Daughter in Politics
- The IGNITE Toolkit for teens includes conversation guides for talking to teenagers about two discussion topics: women as political leaders and dissecting social issues.
- The Toolkit also provides activities, including watching a film about women in politics and volunteering for a candidate.
Encourage a woman to run for office
Resources to get started
Organizations that help women run for office
- IGNITE (for young women)
- She Should Run
- Running Start (for young women)
- Republican Women for Progress
- National Women’s Political Caucus
- Women’s Campaign School at Yale University
- EMILY's List
- Off the Sidelines
Write a letter to encourage a friend or other woman to run for office. Try writing this letter to yourself!
I have been so inspired by your commitment to [issue or cause], and I know you have what it takes to make a difference. I hope you will consider running for [public office] – with your [personal trait], I know you can [discuss goal]. I hope you will decide to run. You have my vote!