Improving Pennsylvania’s Failing Grade for Elected Women in Office: ‘Ready to Run’ Slated at The University of Scranton in February

Dec 20, 2013

         The University of Scranton will host its second Ready to Run™ Northeast Pennsylvania conference Saturday, Feb. 1, in partnership with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

         The day-long conference prepares women from Northeast Pennsylvania 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.

         According to Jean Wahl Harris, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University’s Political Science Department, the Center for American Progress recently gave Pennsylvania a “D” in female leadership, which could be in part due to the low numbers of Pennsylvania women in political leadership positions.

         “Female legislators occupy only 18 percent of the seats in our legislature and Pennsylvania currently has only one woman in its congressional delegation - a delegation of 18 representatives and two senators,” said Dr. Harris. “Since 1789, Pennsylvania has sent only seven women to represent it in Washington, D. C., and all of these women served in the House of Representatives. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman to the U.S. Senate.”

         Dr. Harris explains that several factors account for the dismal number of women serving as elected officials, including social norms and gender role expectations, as well as “the fact that incumbents, who are mostly men, are almost always re-elected.” She says, however, that the main reason for the lack of women serving in office is simply because too few women run.

         “Women can't get elected if they don't run. More women need to run for office,” said Dr. Harris. “The Ready to Run program addresses this issue, by providing women who are contemplating getting involved in politics, the training and encouragement needed to run for office.”

           The conference targets 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.

           The League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County is a sponsor of the conference and WNEP the news station is the media sponsor.

           For additional information or to register for Ready to Run Northeast Pennsylvania, visit The snow date for the conference is Saturday, Feb. 15.


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