“Elect Her,” a one-day training event, encourages women to not only run for office while in college but to run for other government positions after leaving college.
“The hope is that when these women leave Weber State, they will use these skills to run for office outside of the school,” said women’s advocate Dorothy Hill.
Weber State is one of the 50 universities chosen throughout the country to host “Elect Her,” made possible by collaboration from several different groups on Weber’s campus, such as the Women’s Center, the Weber State University Student Association, as well as many outside associations, such as The American Association of University Women and Running Start.
The event is intended to get more college women to run for student body office and to help understand how important it is to run for office, according to Hill. She is a part of the group on campus that worked with the “Elect Her” committee to make this event possible.
That group includes Carol McNamara from the Olene Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service, associate professor of political science Leah Murray and coordinator of Weber’s student involvement and leadership Sheldon Cheshire, among many others.
Weber State has a variety of students who run for office, and the balance of women who run is quite even. However, when it comes to student body president, there hasn’t been a woman in that position for years.
Another issue is that as women get further from college, the number of women in office gradually gets smaller. Hill, who noted she wasn’t an expert on this topic, still feels that if half of the population is female, it would seem reasonable that they have equal representation.
In a column McNamara wrote for The Signpost, she asked, “Why don’t more women run for public office in Utah, and how can we persuade them to step up to the plate and take a chance?”
Although this event is directed towards women, Hill mentioned that there are some men who have signed up for the event.
“The skills that are going to be presented could be used by anybody,” Hill said. “I think students are going to gain a lot of information about where women are in elected positions at all levels and learn why women don’t run.”
“Elect Her” is an all day event, and it will be very hands on. Even with a large number of speakers, this event isn’t simply a day-long lecture.
With so many people from different backgrounds coming to speak, this event aims to give women the tools they need to promote gender balance in politics. Hill mentioned that it would be great for women to have more of a voice in politics.
“Elect Her” will provide a chance to instill students with good leadership skills and crucial networking from local government officials.
Feb. 16 is the deadline to register for the event. “Elect Her” is a great opportunity for women to learn about running for government and will hopefully encourage them to pursue the avenue in the future.