We live in California – the golden state, the land of promise and opportunity and we believe that it is high time we had our fair share of women serving at all levels of elected office. Emerge California is dedicated to getting more Democratic women into elected office by offering comprehensive, top-notch training to women of all ages from communities across the state. Emerge California is proud of our diversity: over 50% of our alumnae are women of color. Our graduates represent a variety of personal and professional backgrounds but they all have one thing in common: the desire to serve their community.
The barriers to entry into the political scene can seem pretty darn imposing to the average citizen, but in a state that has never elected its fair share of women, those barriers can look even more foreboding. Emerge California lowers those barriers and levels the playing field by de-mystifying the process of getting engaged, and connecting women to the knowledge and resources needed to win. The track record of the program speaks for itself: nearly 400 trained, 50% are currently running for, appointed to or serving in elected office; more than 300 appointments to local and state boards and commissions.
But why? The facts speak volumes:
Although there has been progress, there is still a large disparity when it comes to women in positions of political power. We can no longer sit back and allow this to continue. In order to solve this imperative problem, we need to identify why this is happening and take action to force change.
One might think that the public does not want to vote a woman into political power. However, leading theorists believe women simply are not running for office.
Feminist icon Gloria Feldt suggests:
“We’re at unique place in history-where we’ve blown open the glass ceiling but not yet swept away all the treacherous shards. Though we can find data to support many explanations about why we aren’t at parity in elected office and boardrooms, we simply no longer have compelling justifications not to be taking responsibility to get ourselves there.”
A reason is not an excuse. We all know there are plenty of reasons to avoid running for public office. But it is up to YOU to lead the way and start taking real steps towards progress. A pool of highly qualified Democratic candidates is being left untapped. Too often, women do not see themselves running for office – they don’t think they are experienced enough or they just don’t know where to start.
The Emerge California Program is the essential step for Democratic women who have a vision of running for public office, but do not necessarily know where to start.