November 13, 2012

Last night I had the opportunity to see an amazing documentary called, Miss Representation. It is a provocative film that talks about, among other things, the lack of women political representatives in our society. At one point the following statistic flashes on the screen, “Women make up 51% of society, but only 17% of Congress.” While the movie brings up many important issues such as the power of the media, the overwhelming presence of men in positions of power in media, women’s body issues, media’s treatment of strong female politicians, it has gotten me thinking a lot about the path to service.

While the results of the most recent national election did yield the greatest number of female senators ever elected (20), I wanted to provide a few suggestions for how women, in particular, could get involved in public service careers.

Emerge — Emerge CA is “the premier training ground for Democratic women.”

The White House Project — states that it “ignites the leadership of women in business and politics.”

Coro Fellowship — is a “full-time, nine month, graduate-level experiential leadership training program that prepares diverse, talented and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena.” The fellowship operates in 4 cities across the US.

Volunteer — Another great way to learn more about the ins and outs of running for political office is to volunteer at the grassroots level for the candidate of your choice. It could be for a president, senator, congressman or woman, mayor, supervisor, school board member, judge or other elected official.  Just head into their campaign headquarters ready to roll up your sleeves and help out in whatever way is needed. This might mean making telephone calls, canvassing by walking door to door to share literature about the candidate, helping register voters, holding fundraisers, holding up signs on voting day to provide visibility, helping take voters to the polls. There are usually multiple points of entry and you can usually volunteer as much or as little as you like.

“Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.” — Mahatma Gandhi