Too Many States Have Never Elected Women to High Office. We’re Changing That.

AAUW staff show off all of our Elect Her-Campus Women Win sites across the country.

AAUW staff show off all of our Elect Her-Campus Women Win sites across the country.

October 16, 2014

If you want a woman to run for office, you might have to ask her not once, not twice, but seven times.

Maybe that explains why so few women end up in Congress (we’re at just 18.5 percent representation right now). It certainly sheds some light on why 24 states have never elected a woman governor, 22 states have never elected a woman to the U.S. Senate, and four states have never elected a woman to either chamber of Congress.

It’s clear that, thanks to things like cultural stereotypes, women are not running for office.  And it’s everybody’s loss. How can our governments represent everyone’s point of view, let alone come up with the best ideas and solutions, if governments are only run by men?

We have work to do when it comes to women’s representation in political leadership. And AAUW is proud to work with Running Start to train the next generation of Shirley Chisholms, Olympia Snowes, and Tammy Baldwins through a program called Elect Her–Campus Women Win. We work with colleges and universities across the country to hold leadership trainings to get students ready to launch their political careers in student government.

This year, Elect Her will hold trainings on 50 campuses, including trainings at 13 new schools in five new states. We’re especially excited to announce that Elect Her will reach

  • Multiple campuses in California and New York, two (very populous) states that have never elected a woman governor
  • 14 states that have never elected a woman to the U.S. Senate, including Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia
  • The University of Northern Iowa, our first site in Iowa, a state where voters have never elected a woman to either chamber of Congress

There are thousands of Elect Her alumnae, and many have taken the skills and tools they learned from Elect Her and used them to launch successful campaigns for student government positions and even for local office!

Even more inspiring, 95 percent of alumnae from 2014 said that Elect Her prepared them to run for office. More than 50 percent of women surveyed after the training said they were thinking about running for office, and 21 percent reported that they planned to run in the next 10 years.

With Elect Her, we’re changing the way women view their potential when it comes to political leadership so they can say yes the first time someone asks them to run.

This post was written by AAUW Elect Her Intern Caitlyn Leiter-Mason.


Molly Rockett stands in front of her campaign signs.

Molly Rockett Got Elected at 20, and You Can Too!

Molly Rockett is a senior at the University of Connecticut, a resident adviser, and a member of the Board of Education in her hometown.

The 2013 NCCWSL Women of Distinction pose with the AAUW Student Advisory Council for an Instagram.

6 Reasons Why You Should Become an E-Student Affiliate!

At AAUW, a huge part of our work is for you, college students who are empowering women on your campuses and in your community. Here are our top six reasons for you to join.

Women get ready to run at an Elect Her training at Virginia Tech in 2013.

3 Reasons Young Women Should Run for Office

Calling all young women! Former congresswomen want you to run for office.

AAUW Intern By:   |   October 16, 2014

Join the Conversation

You must be logged in to post a comment.