Building Confidence Through Elect Her
Last weekend I had the opportunity to facilitate my final Elect Her training of the season at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. While the group was small (we also had students from Atlanta Metropolitan State College in attendance) it provided us with an opportunity to have a really great discussion. We began the day discussing the importance of young women running for office both at the student government level and beyond. While women at Georgia State University are represented well at the Student Government Association (SGA) level, they comprise 53% of the SGA Senate and 42% of the Election Board. There is still work to be done at the state level where 0% of women serve in executive level positions.
After hearing about the issues that participants were dealing with in their communities, they learned about the ins and outs of running for student government from a panel of current SGA leaders, including Adriana Macchione, the first Latina ever elected as Vice President of the GSU Student Government Association.
Additionally, State Representative Stacey Abrams (84th District) spoke about her experiences as an elected official and the challenges women face balancing their careers and personal lives. Abrams spoke candidly about the pursuit of “having it all” and of the impact that she has been able to make as a public official.
Participants also heard from Molly Badgett, who spoke about the importance of developing your message. We closed the day with a campaign simulation where Breonna Smart, a 22 year old Biology major at GSU from Millen, GA was selected as the winner.
The biggest takeaway from the day was that the skills learned through Elect Her are transferable beyond the work of student government. AnNesha Flecha, a 21 year old Criminal Justice major at GSU from St. Thomas, VI said, “Even if you aren’t interested in SGA, the elevator speech exercise helped me build my confidence and practice sharing in front of other people.” Shani Hoover, a 21 year old Chemistry major at Atlanta Metro said that she hopes more young women will consider attending an Elect Her training. It has been so amazing meeting such amazing young women from across the country and I can’t wait to meet more future elected leaders next year!
This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Rebecca Thompson