Northern Virginia community college opened their doors to women from all NOVA locations for a program called “Elect Her”, a college-wide training program that encourages female students to run for student government. Officials say the program was created in an effort to brush away the political leadership gender gap for women.
“It’s not just to just say, hey you should go out and run, but to actually give them talking points, teach them elevator speeches, teach them how to go about doing that and how to win,” said Sarah Liberatore, the director of the Braden Center.
Elect her is a collaboration with the American association of university women, running start and the Jean Braden center for women, gender and social equity. This year, Chair of the Arlington County Board, Katie Cristol, spoke on her experiences running for office and why being a woman should empower leaders and give them an edge.
“When we have equal representation we come up with equalized policies that work for both genders and when you have just one person who just talks about abortion as a male, that doesn’t really work out. That is what we are pushing for, women leaders to speak up,” said Bethlehem Getaneh, a student government representative.
Leaders say thousands of alumnae have taken the skills and tools they learned from the leadership training program and used it to launch successful campaigns for student government positions and even local office.
“We all have a light to shine. All of us. I think that everybody has those self doubts and so it is important for us to say, you know, I am worthy too,” said Carolyn Lorente, the former director of women’s center.