These 5 College Students Are Proof that Women Win ElectionsJune 30, 2014
We have good and bad news to report about women’s representation in Congress.
First, the bad news: A new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that at our current rate, it will take women 100 years to achieve parity with men in Congress.
The good news is that we can change that trend by encouraging more women to run for office from a young age.
At our campus training, Elect Her–Campus Women Win, we see hundreds of college women find their leadership potential and start their political careers by running for student government. In 2014, 78 percent of students who took the training and then reported running for student office won their elections. Even better, many participants told us they were inspired to continue moving up the leadership pipeline.
Here are just a few of the winning women we met through Elect Her who are leading their campuses this year.
1. Avra Bossov
When the votes were in, there was little dispute: Avra Bossov was the right choice for executive vice president of George Washington University’s student association. Bossov won with a clear majority, garnering 60 percent of the vote for her position. She also received the endorsement of the campus student newspaper.
“Of all the candidates, we have the most confidence in Bossov’s goals,” wrote the GW Hatchet.
While we weren’t familiar with the other candidates, we too had a lot of faith in the Elect Her alum.
“[At Elect Her] I learned a lot of hands-on skills of how to present myself,” Bossov told us. “Elect Her helped me expand my network of women leaders, both at GW and throughout the country, as I attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders a few months after my school’s [training].”
2. Christina Beer
It was her time. The University of Cincinnati’s undergraduate student body hadn’t had a female president in more than 20 years when Christina Beer stepped forward to run.
The campaign wasn’t easy, either. A school newspaper reported that the election attracted one of the highest voter turnouts in recent memory — and it was one of the closest, too. Yet Beer prevailed with 50.9 percent of the vote.
“Elect Her inspired me to run,” she told us. “I put myself out there and tried something that I never thought I would do since I stepped on campus my freshman year.”
3. Haley Jones
Haley Jones did not think she would ever run for vice president of the student body at Denison University. A committee chair position, she thought, might be in the cards. But the second-in-command position never crossed her mind — until she attended Elect Her.
“Elect Her was one of the programs I attended in my first year at Denison that left a profound impression on how I understood myself and others,” Jones said. “Before the program, I had not begun to think about the big picture as it related to my leadership involvement on campus.”
Of course, Jones ended up running for vice president alongside her Elect Her comrade Pearce — and won.
“I would recommend Elect Her to any individual looking for a group of individuals interested in bettering themselves and their community,” she said.
4. Meghan Pearce
Meghan Pearce’s run for president of student government at Denison University was like many real-world elections. In other words, it was a tough race.
“Elections can be full of doubt,” Pearce told us. “I definitely doubted several factors in my campaign, from my goals and message to my ability to outreach and make change.”
But in the end, Pearce pulled through with a win — thanks in part to support from friends, mentors, and her campaign team.
“Elect Her taught me how to suppress doubt by leveraging support for myself and others who aim to achieve a better future,” she said.
5. Katerina Klawes
It might seem like running unopposed is a candidate’s dream. But just because your campaign is a breeze doesn’t mean the job will be.
Fortunately Katerina Klawes, the newly elected president of the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University, is up for the challenge. Already campus reports indicate that Klawes is running student government in a new and exciting way — and Elect Her is proud to have a part in her story.
“[Elect Her] gave me the confidence I needed to become a leader, not only in student government but in everyday life,” Klawes said.
AAUW Campus Leadership Programs Intern Jessica Bonilla also contributed to this post.