AMES, Iowa – The fact that Iowa elected its first woman to Congress this past fall is encouraging to Kelly Winfrey, a lecturer for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. Winfrey is optimistic it will motivate more women to run for office.
“Research shows that when viable female candidates run for office – and as more women hold office – it increases interest among other women in politics and makes them more likely to consider running as well,” Winfrey said. “Joni Ernst broke an important glass ceiling in Iowa politics, and this will likely affect Iowa women’s political interest and ambition.”
Women considering political office or serving on a board should take the first step by signing up for the 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa: Campaign Training for Women program. Ready to Run® is a non-partisan training program, open to everyone, but designed to help women organize a campaign, develop a message and interact with voters.
The Catt Center has offered the program every other year since 2007. The 2015 program will consist of six interactive workshops that will be presented on Feb. 13, March 13 and April 24. Each workshop is taught as an individual training session that can be attended separately or in conjunction with other workshops.
Registration is now open for the February session, which features workshops on Iowa politics and political parties as well as political appointments and advocacy. In the morning workshop, participants will learn about research on women’s political success in attaining public office in Iowa and the U.S. Participants will learn about appointments to public boards and commissions in Iowa as well as effective advocacy techniques for promoting an idea or issue during the afternoon session.
Elected and appointed officials will also share their experience and advice for those considering political office. Rep. Lisa Heddens, Johnston Mayor Paula Dierenfield, Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, and Deputy Secretary of State Carol Olson are among those confirmed to speak in February.
“The content of each workshop is crafted to address the unique experiences and challenges of female candidates and to provide women with the knowledge and tools to become more politically engaged,” said Winfrey, who is directing the 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa program. “Women will learn what resources are available from the political parties and other organizations and how to position themselves to be appointed to a board.”
Winfrey, who previously taught at the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute, says Ready to Run® is an opportunity to network and build relationships with other women in the political arena. The Catt Center’s research shows that 64 percent of women who ran for a seat in the Iowa House in 2014, won compared to 62 percent of men.
Workshops scheduled for March 13 and April 24 will focus on launching a campaign, fundraising, website development, social media, crafting a stump speech and working with the media. Winfrey says all sessions are based in academic research on women and political campaigns. Information is presented by local, state and national political leaders and campaign strategists.
Participants can see a complete schedule and register for the Ready to Run® Iowa workshops by clicking here. Space is limited and registration is required. Registration for the March and April sessions will open a month in advance. Questions should be directed to Winfrey at 515-294-3181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa workshop series is supported in part by the Ames Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of Ames, the League of Women Voters of Iowa, EILEEN FISHER, and Richard and Mary Jo Stanley of Muscatine.
About the Carrie Chapman Catt Center
Founded in 1992, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State offers a variety of programs to promote civic engagement and participation in community leadership, politics and public service. The center honors Carrie Chapman Catt, a distinguished alumna of Iowa State and leader of the women’s suffrage movement. The center’s programs blend the resources and scholarship of the academic environment with the actual experiences of individuals in the public and private sectors.