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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

She Should Run encourages women to seek office

She+Should+Run+encourages+women+to+seek+office
Jennifer McFadden | Graphics Editor
She Should Run encourages women to seek office

She Should Run, a non-partisan organization that encourages women to seek political office, visited the Mississippi State University campus on Tuesday night.
The event, held at Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium, fostered a thoughtful panel discussion of the challenges women face in seeking political office.
Executive Director for She Should Run, Clare Bresnahan, led the all-female panel discussion, which featured Mississippi State Treasurer, Lynn Fitch, current State Senators, Sally Doty and Angela Turner and former State Representative Kimberly Campbell.
At the discussion, Bresnahan said the number of public offices available in the U.S. total 500,000. If women want to have anywhere near parity—which is an equal representation of women and men in government—Bresnahan said it will take more women taking the initiative to run for office.
Among international rankings, the United States ranks low in female political representation. 
The Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of parliaments which seeks “the peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy,” ranked the U.S. 100 out of 192 nations ranked for female political representation, which puts us just above Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan.
Catalyst.org states at the national level, women compromise 19.3 percent of the House of Representatives and 21 percent of the U.S. Senate. 
At the state level, only four states currently have female governors and state legislatures are made up of only 24.8 percent women.  
Betty Thomas, Student Association Treasurer, said the idea to host She Should Run came from sitting in one of MSU President Mark Keenum’s classes.
Amy Tuck, MSU’s vice president of campus services and former lieutenant governor for the state of Mississippi, visited Keenum’s class to discuss with them the lack of female representation in government. Tuck is one of only four women to hold a statewide elected office in Mississippi’s government.
Thomas said before Tuck’s visit, she did not realize how low the number of women who currently serve and have served in the state really was.
After hearing the numbers from Tuck, Thomas decided to reach out to She Should Run, as well as women holding elected offices in the state.
The process of organizing the event began last semester, Thomas said, when she was serving as co-director for the Student Association’s cabinet for community and government relations body.
She said the advice the panelists gave to attendees is applicable not just for women running in politics, but for women managing life in general.
“I was so inspired by all those panelists,” Thomas said. “They were incredible, and they had so many good pieces of advice, even for women who aren’t considering running for political office.”
Thomas, who does have political aspirations, said she hopes women who attended the event realize the need for them to run for office in the future. 
Kathleen Kiernan, an organizer for the event, said she just finished serving in the Student Association’s cabinet as co-director for the community and government relations alongside Thomas. 
Kiernan said as a feminist and someone who wants to run for office in her home state of Georgia, she was baffled by Mississippi government’s low female representation.
Kiernan, like Thomas, said she also felt inspired by the women who participated in the panel.
Kiernan said the main point for the event, however, was to demonstrate the overwhelming need for women to seek political office.
“We just really wanted to show the women at Mississippi State, as well as the community, that you can be a leader,” Kiernan said.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
She Should Run encourages women to seek office