6 Organizations Lifting Up Underrepresented Women

| Kathleen Kiernan

We know women represent 51% of the population, but they represent less than 30% of all elected officials across the federal, state, and local level. For women of color, women in the LGBTQ community, women with disabilities, and women of other minority groups, there is even less representation. Women of color represent only 8.8% of the total 535 members of Congress, 4.5% of the total 311 statewide executive offices, 7.4% of state legislatures, and of the 100 largest cities, only 10 of those have women of color mayors, according to the Center for American Women and Politics

Currently, it is estimated that less than one-tenth of elected officials have disabilities compared to nearly one-sixth of Americans who have a disability. Additionally, less than 1% of U.S. elected officials identify as openly LGBTQ compared to the 4.5% of Americans who identify as LGBTQ.

We know that women across the country are less likely to run for public office and therefore are seriously underrepresented. According to the World Economic Forum, “Gender parity has a fundamental bearing on whether or not economies and societies thrive.”

As a nonpartisan nonprofit, we motivate women from all walks of life, ethnicities, political leanings, and backgrounds to explore the possibility of public office through data-driven content, education, and collective action.

For women who join She Should Run, we offer a variety of programming to help them consider a run for office:

  • A supportive community and network of women who are going through the journey of exploring a run for office with you
  • A robust nonpartisan curriculum through our Incubator program that helps women unveil the many pathways to political leadership, discover why they want to serve, and build their overall confidence about running for office
  • Virtual events and webinars where women can hear first-hand from local elected female officials across the country, be inspired to take their first step towards running for office, and learn how they can support other women in their journey to public office

Through our community and our programming, we work with women to overcome barriers to elected office. While all women face more barriers to running for office than men, we know those barriers increase and are exacerbated for women of color, women who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, women with disabilities, and women of other minority groups. If you are a woman looking for support in those specific areas, we highly encourage you to check out these six organizations:

  1. Higher Heights for America is a national organization that provides Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies. They are creating an environment for Black women to vote, run, win and lead, through online training, research, cultural-shifting communications work and digital campaigns.
  2. The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.
  3. Advance Native Political Leadership is a project that is born of the need to have Native American representation in elected and appointed offices throughout the country. This project seeks to build a stronger leadership pathway for our next generation of leaders, now and into the future.
  4. Latinas Represent is an initiative led by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda to increase Latina participation throughout the civic engagement continuum, inspire more Latinas to seek public service opportunities and create a more reflective democracy. They conduct research, lift up effective strategies, and unite stakeholders and communities.
  5. Victory Institute works to increase the number of LGBTQ people in public office and to provide programming, service and other support to help ensure their success.  Through their training and professional development programs, each year Victory Institute assists hundreds of individuals who go on to influential careers in politics, government, business and advocacy.
  6. National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities. Their Elevate: Campaign Training for People with Disabilities is a campaign training series where expert political consultants will teach you the skills that you need to take your leadership to elected office.

These are just a few of many organizations working in this space to close the gender gap in public leadership. If you are feeling inspired and are starting to consider public leadership as a possibility for you, we encourage you to join our Community, make some connections, and explore our courses, including our resources for women from marginalized communities.