Ready to Run™ Conference Seeks Women to Enter Politics

Feb 23, 2016

Women in northeastern and central Pennsylvania who want to learn more about Pennsylvania women’s participation in state and local governments or how to run for office have a place to turn for valuable training at The University of Scranton this spring. The University’s Ready to Run™ NEPA Program will host two events this semester. On Saturday, March 19, the first Ready to Run conference, titled “Wanted: More Women Candidates,” will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus. On Saturday, May 21, the University will host a second Ready to Run NEPA conference, titled “Launching Your Campaign.”

A non-partisan program first developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University, Ready to Run™ trains women to run for office, seek higher office, work on a campaign, get appointed to office or get more politically engaged in their community. Participants will learn from elected and appointed women leaders, campaign consultants, and scholars with expertise on government and politics.

“Research shows that women public officials work to make government more transparent to their constituents and more accessible to the diversity of people, voices and concerns in their communities,” said Jean Wahl Harris, Ph.D., professor of political science and women studies at The University of Scranton. “Yet, Pennsylvania has no women in Congress and has one of the nation’s lowest proportions of women in the state legislature – only 18 percent – which ranks 40th out of 50 states for female participation. And local and county governments aren’t doing much better.”

Dr. Harris, who will offer the keynote at the March 199h conference, said, “Potential candidates incorrectly assume that voters are less apt to vote for women candidates; research does not support this assumption. Research indicates that unlike men, who don’t question their qualifications for office and are willing to run whether encouraged or not, qualified women don’t think they are qualified enough and don’t think about running until encouraged or asked to run. What needs to be done? More women need to run for office; they can’t get elected if they don’t run.”

Participants of the March 19 program, “Wanted: More Women Candidates,” will walk away with: an understanding of what the underrepresentation of women in Pennsylvania state and local governments means for women and their families; insight into the different perceptions voters have of the credibility of women and men candidates; real-world advice for becoming a credible and viable candidate; fundraising and media skills; and the inspiration to launch a campaign.

In addition to Dr. Harris, presenters at the March 19th conference include Margaret Bisignani Moyle, Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas judge; Fran Kovaleski, Lackawanna County register of wills; Aubrey Montgomery, founder and principal of Rittenhouse Political Partners; and Jan Kelly, Ph.D., faculty emeritus at The University of Scranton.

Participants of the May 21st Ready to Run NEPA will receive “how to” instructions on running for office including getting on the ballot, filing required paperwork, organizing a campaign team, crafting and delivering a message on social and traditional media, fundraising, and getting voters out on election day.

Ready to Run NEPA is co-sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County, and the media sponsor is WNEP 16.

The fee for “Wanted: More Women Candidates,” which includes breakfast and lunch, is $50 for the general public and $15 for students with a school ID. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Linda Walsh at 570-941-7520 or or visit

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