As a young woman, I watched as Anita Hill was eviscerated by an all-male Senate judiciary committee on national television. In that moment, I realized that until women have equal power, their rights will be ignored. After many years working in the women’s political equity space it became clear to me that to achieve parity we must reach women younger, to build a pipeline of next generation leaders who are ready to run for office.
It has never been more important for young women, like you, to step up and own you fair share of political power.
As Founder and President of IGNITE, we are building a movement of young women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders.
Why? Because it has never been more important for young women, like you, to step up and own your fair share of political power! You’ve all seen the photos of roomfuls of men (and mostly white men) making policy decisions and laws about women’s lives.
No matter what your position on any issue, it’s important that the laws and policies of this country reflect your perspectives, as well as the perspectives of all the citizens of this country – not just a select few.
Did you know, women hold just 22% of the political offices in the United States?
That puts us at 104th in the world in the percentage of women in political leadership – behind countries like Iraq, Pakistan, China, Rwanda! Why do we fare so poorly? Because women just don’t run for office – they don’t put themselves out there as candidates. When women do run for office they are just as likely to win – and to lose – as men.
The problem is they just don’t run. Research on this issue suggests that its at least partially because girls are not socialized or encouraged by parents and teachers to become politically active or to think of themselves as leaders. And so they think they are less qualified when that is not the case. Does this sound familiar? We’ve got to make a change!
It’s time to recognize your great ideas!
At IGNITE we know that young women like you come to civic and political leadership from an authentic desire to fix the problems you see in your communities. Maybe it’s wanting to end homelessness, or stop gun violence, or improve the quality of your schools. Regardless of your passion issue, it’s time you recognize that you have great ideas about how to make your community better!
Addressing these issues, is exactly what elected leaders do! Hmm you say, well I’ve thought about a career in public service or a non-profit, or education. I ask you today: Why not a career as an elected official? I guarantee the boys you go to school with have thought about running for office. You should to!
Don’t get me wrong – the non-profit and education fields are noble professions. But I want YOU to be making the laws and the policies to improve our communities, not just responding to them.
Female activism is at an all-time high.
The good news is that we are at a special moment in history when activism among women and girls has never been higher. The time is now for you and your peers to stop worrying about qualifications and start turning your passion for social change into political leadership. Speak passionately about the issues you want to lead around and declare your ambition to run for office! You’ll be surprised how many women – and men – get behind your vision for a better future.
– Anne Moses, President & Founder, IGNITE