Ready to Run Changing the Landscape of Regional Politics

10/11/13

         The University of Scranton will host its second Ready to Run™ Northeast Pennsylvania conference Saturday, Nov.16, in partnership with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

         The day-long conference prepares women from 24 Pennsylvania counties to run for office, seek higher office, or work on a campaign. Prominent elected leaders and consultants will provide expertise on developing and executing a political campaign.

         Research shows that women who hold public office focus more on issues of concern to children, disadvantaged groups of citizens, and women. They build consensus and are more responsive to their constituents than are their male counterparts, according to Jean Wahl Harris, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University’s Political Science Department.

         “This conference is about empowerment and encouragement,” said Dr. Harris. “You can’t be elected if you don’t run. This program offers the tools needed to run a campaign and the supportive encouragement to ‘go for it’.”

         The Pennsylvania legislature is just 17.8 percent women, placing it 39th in the country in terms of equal representation and tied with the state of Mississippi. Colorado ranks first with women occupying 41 percent of the seats.

         “If women can get over the hurdle of deciding to run, there could be a snowball effect that moves our state into more equal territory in terms of leadership and participation in government,” said Dr. Harris.

          Dr. Harris emphasized that women offer a lot more to government than just narrowing the gap between men and women.

           “Women have different priorities than do men,” she explained. “Generally speaking, while men see government as a career, women enter politics to address specific areas of concern. They tend to focus on issues that affect people.”

           According to Dr. Harris, research shows that even though this is still a man’s world in terms of power, businesses with greater proportions of women in leadership positions are generally more successful. CAWP asserts that women have gained experience working with people who have different opinions and perspectives – a valuable skill for reaching across the boards, as well as across the political aisle.

           The conference serves residents of Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

           For additional information or to register for Ready to Run Northeast Pennsylvania, visit www.scranton.edu/readytorun. The registration deadline is Friday, Nov. 8.


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