It is my third day on the job here at Running Start in Washington, DC and I can already tell it is going to be a great summer. As I take the metro in the mornings with thousands of others of Washingtonians downtown to the Farragut North stop on the red line I get to reflect on how lucky I am to be able to work and gain experience from such a fabulous organization. I get to work with intelligent and inspiring women on a great cause. In the area around my desk there are quotes about women in politics and the difference that we can all make together. One of these quotes states, “Four of our last five presidents have been governors. Since 1925, only 26 women have ever been elected governor. Getting women into politics early really does matter.” I think that this quote illustrates what Running Start is trying to accomplish. Getting girls and young women interested and involved in politics at an early age will then lead and encourage them to run for office and encourage them and let them know that they really can make a difference.
Political positions are clearly male dominated and governor is no exception. Currently only 5 out of 50 governors are women. One of these governors is Nikki Haley of South Carolina. At 40 years old Haley is the youngest current U.S. governor. Haley has a book, Can’t is Not an Option that discusses the obstacles that she faced on the road to her governorship and also the vitality of women getting involved and running for political office. Haley explains that there are very few women in politics because women will not run for office.
The low statistics of women in office and the low drive in women to run for office is exactly why Running Start’s cause is so important. If girls get introduced to politics and encouraged to run for office at an early age, we could see a more even balance of women and men in politics whether it is on the local or national level. The programs that Running Start puts on for women is just the “running start” they need for a future political career.
–Katie Webster, Running Start Intern