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"Women Can Run" program is encouraging more female participation in the political process

WFSU Public Media

Women have made many advancements over the years, but they still lag behind men when it comes to the number elected to political office. An upcoming event connected with the program called "Women Can Run" will encourage and counsel female would-be office seekers at Tallahassee Community College next week. The program is hosted by the Oasis Center for Women and Girls, where Marisa Button is a board member.

"A few years ago, we realized there's really a gap in the representation of women in elected office overall. And you can see that honestly in local, state and national levels." she observed.

On the local level, for instance, the City of Tallahassee had no female commissioners until 1972 when Joan Heggen became the first. And even now, out of more than 30 local office candidates who have thus far filed for this fall's election, only 1 out of 5 are women.

"There is not equity and so we think the program is as important as ever."

Button said this ongoing disparity is what prompted the Oasis Center to launch an effort to address the issue head-on.

"We created the Women Can Run program to meet that need and we felt it really aligns with our organizational mission. And we've executed that program in a number of different ways over the years."

One thing that's changed, she sids, is expanding the program beyond the simple needs of prospective candidates.

"To prepare women who, are not only interested in seeking office, but also being trained to run and lead campaigns."

Button said any woman aspiring to a political possibility will find the next Women Can Run event of great interest.

"Thursday, March 24th at TCC. Registration is at 5 p.m. with the program beginning at 5:30. And we're holding essentially two session periods where you have your selection of two sessions."

Those sessions covering a wide range of topics.

"Launching your campaign and understanding what matters, campaign messaging, fund raising and navigating the donor landscape, choosing your race, best advice that experienced folks have learned. So that's just a taste of the panels you'll have to choose from."

She said a highlight will be a panel made up entirely of local women who have achieved electoral success. All made possible by extensive community support.

"The Center for American Women in Politics, Pivotal Ventures, TCC and the Target Corporation. So we're thankful for our sponsors."

There is a link to more information about the Women Can Run event on the Oasis Center for Women and Girls web site.


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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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