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How to close the gender gap in political ambition




Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waves as she enters the Our Revolution Massachusetts Rally at the Orpheum Theatre on March 31, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waves as she enters the Our Revolution Massachusetts Rally at the Orpheum Theatre on March 31, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

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Women represent 21 percent of our current Congress.

That’s actually an all-time high, and the numbers for female office holders in the U.S., from mayors to governor to members of the House, are all similarly low, despite women winning elections and raising money at similar rates to their male counterparts.

So what can be done to encourage women to run for public office?

That’s something Jennifer Lawless, director for the Women & Politics Institute, has been studying for years. She co-authored a report that found two crucial factors in cultivating girls’ political ambitions: involvement in sports and parental encouragement.

Female listeners, have you ever considered running for political office and if so, what encouraged or deterred you? Parents, have you talked to daughters about running for political office, or cultivated their ambitions? Why or why not?

Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

Guests:

Jennifer Lawless, current director for the Women & Politics Institute and professor of Government at American University; she is the co-author of the report “Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition

Vanessa Cardenas, director of strategic communications at Emily’s List, a political action committee that aims to elect Democratic women