Last week I had to the opportunity to attend my first “Running and Winning” program. It was organized and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Red Bank Area. “Running and Winning” is an amazing day-long League program that encourages high school girls to consider a political career.
I found the commitment of the League members, other sponsoring organizations, volunteers, female elected officials and political operatives, and the enthusiasm of the student participants extremely inspiring and encouraging. Young women who may have never before considered a career in politics, or who may have thought that a political career was not possible, left that day excited, empowered, and confident in their ability to work on a campaign team or run for elected office. The young women spent the day interviewing women who have political careers, researching the pros and cons of a policy issue, and working together in teams to prepare and deliver a campaign speech about that issue.
Currently four local Leagues – LWV of Cape May, LWV of Mountain Lakes, LWV of Camden County, and LWV of the Greater Red Bank Area – organize and sponsor local “Running and Winning” programs in their communities. I would like to say thank you to the many people who work so hard to provide this opportunity to high school girls in those areas. All of you are playing a huge role in shaping the future of these young women and working to decrease the gender gap in our political system. As I watched each group of students deliver their speeches I was so very proud to belong to an organization that not only encourages political participation, but also provides hands-on leadership skills to foster our future female political leaders.