Last Friday in Alexandria, Virginia, a small group of women gathered inside a conference room as part of an all-day bootcamp hosted by the progressive women’s advocacy group EMILY’s List. The topic: how to run for office. In a follow-up to last year’s election that saw women make historic gains in the U.S. Senate, EMILY’s List just launched a campaign to push more women into politics through a series bootcamps scheduled between now and the 2014 midterm elections.
The campaign’s launch also happened to coincide with an important date in history: the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. By building a group of progressive female candidates, EMILY’s List hopes to elect women who will defend abortion rights and other issues such as access to contraception and family planning resources.
Though women are represented in greater numbers than at any other point in American history, the ratio in Congress still doesn’t reflect gender demographics in the United States. Victoria Budson, Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, spoke at Womensphere last on the influence women can have in politics, if elected, and the policy impact of participation by women.