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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M movement strives to encourage more women to run for political office

Although women make up approximately half of the population, both nationally and in the A&M student body, they only make up 20 percent of Congress and Student Government,respectively. Elect Her, a program at A&M which took place this past weekend, is aiming to change that.
Amanda Dick, psychology senior and student liaison at the Women’s Resource Center, said it is necessary to promote such a program because women are often not represented equally in government, whether it’s on campus or off.
“It is important for women to have a voice so that our interests are represented,” Dick said.
Heather Wheeler, program coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, said studies show women have to be encouraged seven to eight times to run for office before they feel encouraged enough to consider doing so.
“We thought if we could bring a program like Elect Her to campus, it could encourage and train women to run a campaign,” Wheeler said. “In turn, it would help get more women interested in running for SGA and state legislature.”
Wheeler said women who attended were not only interested in running for future office positions, but also to garner leadership experience.
“A lot of what was taught at Elect Her can be applied to supervisory positions in the work environment, or even if you are running a student organization,” Wheeler said.
While the workshop highlighted effective campaign strategies and do’s and don’ts of communication along with successful networking, Dick said the core message was to tackle the hesitation many women face before partaking in leadership roles.
“Women seem to think that they are less capable of holding elected positions than men, and this is simply not true,” Dick said.
Hannah Weger, political science senior and speaker of the Student Senate, said she stressed the importance of women to act on their goals without being discouraged.
“A lot of women have the inspiration, but they often lack the drive,” Weger said. “Desire can be turned into reality by simply acting on it.”
Women invited to speak at the workshop consisted primarily of elected officials. They offered advice on information such as interview etiquette and developing a successful message. Dick said they also underscored the importance of conduct in the face of adversity.
“Win or lose, running for office is a beneficial experience,” Dick said. “It allows you to learn more about yourself as a leader, make connections with others and better prepares you for your next election,”
Wheeler said she intends to have Elect Her on campus again next year.
“We will probably want the workshop scheduled in January, before the SGA filings,” Wheeler said. “This way, women have that encouragement before the deadline, in case they’re interested in running.”

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