One of the only good things that has come from this Trump presidency is that women across the country are awake, energized, and organizing to fight back. And they’re doing it in a big way — including large numbers of women now preparing to run for office.
Women have been paying attention. We’ve heard Trump brag about sexual assault. We’ve heard him denigrate and disrespect women. We’ve heard his vile words and seen his deplorable behavior. And we’re pissed.
Because of Trump, we’re seeing record numbers of women taking to the streets to protest. And now we’re also seeing massive numbers of women deciding to run for office.
There are groups across the country that help women prepare to run. And they are seeing “a level of intense interest not seen in at least a quarter century.”
And it’s a good thing because right now women are far from being proportionately represented in any level of government. Approximately 25% of state-level lawmakers are women. And women represent only 20% of Congress.
Women throughout the country are ready to fight back against Trump and his agenda. And they are looking to fix things from within. From local school boards to Congress, women are ready to get to work.
One of the groups helping and training Democratic women across the country to run for office is Emerge America. The president and founder of Emerge, Andrea Dew Steele, says they’ve seen a huge increase in the number of women interested in running since Donald Trump won the election.
“We saw an immediate uptick in interest in our work. And it has persisted through today. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”
Steele says that since Election Day, applications for the group’s training sessions have increased by 87%.
Jean Sinzdak from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University said,
“Some of it is absolutely a reaction to President Trump and his policies. For others, it is Hillary Clinton’s loss.” The realization of not having a woman president “sort of woke them up to the idea that maybe we haven’t made as much progress as we thought.”
Sinzdak runs another training program for women called Ready to Run.
“Sinzdak oversees the university’s nonpartisan New Jersey training program, Ready to Run, which also has affiliates nationwide. Ready to Run is experiencing its own Trump bump with more than 50 women signing up immediately after Election Day. This year’s program is already at capacity, which Sinzdak, who has been running the program for 12 years, says typically doesn’t happen until March. The program has been expanded to accommodate up to 50 extra people.”
Another training group, California Women Lead, points out that back in 2012 they had high hopes for female candidates in California. But they just didn’t have enough women running.
“That’s where groups like California Women Lead, Emerge America and Ready to Run come in to help guide women from signing up for a training program to actually running for office. Steele, of Emerge America, believes this latest burst of enthusiasm is different from past years and she’s confident that more women will actually run in 2018.
“The biggest challenge for us is getting more women interested in running,” said Steele. “So the fact that women are self-nominating, are waking up and saying ‘I want to do this,’ is the biggest, most hopeful sign that I’ve seen definitely since the Anita Hill hearings.””