The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech is hosting “Elect Her,” an event poised at training women who are interested in running for office or other leadership positions.
The one day event will feature a variety of speakers and panels that hope to shed light on women in politics and leadership roles locally, as well as nationally. Fifty eight women have registered for the training, that will take place from noon to 5 today in Torgersen Museum.
“Elect Her” is hosted by the Women's Center and run by the American Association of University Women and Running Start. According to its website, "Elect Her" is a nationwide program that trains college-aged women to run effective campaigns for student government and teaches skills needed to achieve leadership roles in both communities and professional careers.
The interactive exercises will revolve around networking, developing an elevator speech and campaign simulations. Research will also be presented by AAUW that discusses why women don’t run for office in the same numbers as their male counterparts.
Jessie Meltsner, special events coordinator at the Women’s Center, said this event helps stress the importance of young women becoming involved in politics.
“This kind of training can give young women the tools and confidence to put themselves forward for positions that can be a springboard to wider political aspirations,” Meltsner said.
The seminar will have different panels that will include guest speakers from local and national organizations. Anjelica Smith, the vice president for the SGA, will be a part of a panel that discusses campaigning and the process of getting elected.
“I’m excited to hopefully open some doors for women,” Smith said.
Smith was encouraged to run for SGA offices after seeing the success other women in the organization had had.
“I think it’s awesome because it’s not solely directed toward student government, but I think that any woman that’s thinking of getting involved can find value in what’s going to be talked about on Friday,” Smith said.
According to research done by Jennifer Lawles of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, women who are involved in student government are more likely to run for public offices.
The Washington Post also reported in 2011 that of student presidents at the 50 colleges ranked highest by U.S. News & World Report, less than a third were women, despite the fact that women outnumber men overall in colleges and universities.
“Unless we can increase the number of women in leadership positions and elected offices, we will continue to lag behind countries such as Mexico, China and Pakistan in terms of women’s representation in federal government,” Meltsner said.
Virginia Tech is one of 39 campuses across the country that will hold an "Elect Her" event this year.
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