Are you ready to run?

It’s no secret men dominate politics, even though statistics show men and women are on pretty equal footing when it comes to getting elected. So why are women so grossly underrepresented in our democracy?

It’s a simple: women are much less likely to be encouraged to run for office. Take a look at what West Virginia Focus reporter Shay Maunz wrote in her recent feature “How to Run For Office.”

Almost half of men say they’ve been encouraged to run by at least one person, but only 35 percent of women have. And this isn’t a problem that’s limited to powers within the political machine. Forty percent of men say their parents have encouraged them to run for office, but only 29 percent of women can say that. The men were also twice as likely to have had grandparents who encouraged them to get into politics. And that has a huge impact, because women are three times more likely to be interested in running for office if they have been encouraged to run.

It’s time to change that.

The West Virginia Women’s Commission is hosting a two-day conference this month with Ready to Run, a non-partisan campaign training program by the Center for American Women and Politics that seeks to encourage women to run for elected office, work on campaigns, and otherwise get involved in public life.

The conference will be held September 18 and 19 at Four Points by Sheraton in downtown Charleston. It costs $25 to register.

The event will include seminars on fundraising, launching a campaign, navigating political parties, media relations, and balancing a campaign with everyday life. There will also be a networking reception and Jean Sinzdak, associate director of the Center for American Women and Politics, will deliver the keynote address.

You can contact the women’s commission at 304.558.0070 for more information, or CLICK HERE to register.

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