Guest Blog: 2017, The Year of Women RARING to Run!


By Patricia Russo

WOW! What a difference a GLOBAL Women’s March makes! Since that March, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale (WCSYale.org) has been flooded with inquiries from women raising their hands excited to learn more about our five day training the week of June 5th, and wanting to learn more about getting civically engaged.

Since the March, we heard from over 700 women from across the country. And those of you who know me know I eagerly responded to every query! The conversations went something like this: “Hello! Thanks so much for contacting us. Where did you vote on Election Day?”, “Oh, I’m not registered to vote. But I’m mad now! I marched and I want to run!” I then directed them to their local Registrar of Voters, gave them a local political homework assignment, and then asked them to please contact us in one year if they were still excited about politically participating.

That was about one third of the women who contacted us after the March.

The next one third who contacted us were YES! registered to vote, however they had not voted in the November 2016 election. Reasons were rampant: “My car died. I forgot. The two candidates were so similar, I just couldn’t decide.”
But, they’re mad now, they marched and they want to run for office.

I also gave this one third a local political assignment to complete, in the hope that they too would return to us and apply in one year.

The remaining one third were truly “Ready to Run”, and are currently applying…en masse! I am thrilled to report our online application numbers have reached an all time high in the history of our School, and climbing.

Here’s my concern about the 2/3 who are truly not ready to run. They will take a webinar elsewhere, believe they are ready to run, run prematurely, lose, not run again, and there goes our political pipeline…and then we are doomed to continue on this hamster wheel we have been on of not enough women in the pipeline.

Which is why we are the in process of raising $100,000 to fund a new one day intensive training program: WCSYale: The Basics which we hope to launch this spring throughout the country to help women not ready for our five day intensive, to find their political footing, to help them understand the political basics so that they can effectively launch themselves politically in their individual communities. We are excited at the response we have gotten from women interested in funding this new initiative as well as from women who are interested in participating. Many have shared with us: “I don’t know what I don’t know”. We want to help harness their enthusiasm and new found passion into effective and successful political activism so that we can create and build a political pipeline worthy of not only 52% of our gender, but of our entire population of American people.

His holiness the Dalai Lama said: “Western Women will Save the World.” Every day in every way I am inspired by these words, and I know them to be true.

 
For more information about our new one day training initiative, our June 5-9 session, inviting the WCSYale to speak at your next meeting, or any other queries, please contact me at: PRusso@WCSYale.org or 203.734.7385.

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Patricia is the Executive Director of Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

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