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Women & Politics Institute

The Women and Politics Institute provides practical and academic training to women that encourages them to become involved in the political process and facilitates research by faculty and students that enhances our understanding of the challenges and opportunities women face in the political arena.

Panel Discussion: #ShePersisted: Women, Politics & Power in the New Media World Tuesday, October 15, 4:00 PM

Panelists headshots

Join American University’s Women & Politics Institute and the Women in Public Service Project for the presentation of Lucina Di Meco's global research on the relationship between women political leaders and traditional and social media in a rapidly changing landscape.

Followed by a panel discussion with women scholars, strategists and media execs on how women political leaders can leverage the power of media to drive change.

Paper Presentation:
Lucina Di Meco, Global Fellow Wilson Center, Director of Girls Education, Room to Read
Christine Matthews, President, Bellwether Research and Consulting 
Crystal Patterson, Global Civics Partnership Manager, Facebook
Jenna Golden, President, Golden Strategies, Former Head of Political Sales at Twitter
Rebecca Schuller, President, Winning for Women
Gwen K Young, Managing Director Global Emergency Response Coalition; Distinguished Fellow, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Wilson Center; Visiting Fellow, George Washington University, Elliot School
Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director, Women and Politics Institute and Executive in Residence Department of Government

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Event Recap " For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" Book Talk

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics Panelists

October 9, 2019

The Women & Politics Institute hosted a forum to discuss, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics,” a book that details the careers and friendships of four powerful African American women in the political world. Co-authors and renowned political strategists Donna Brazile, Minyon Moore, and Yolanda Caraway joined WPI Executive Director and moderator Betsy Fischer Martin as they explored the importance of urging women to run for public office, and examining the value of women surrounding themselves with other strong, like-minded women.

Central to their discussion, the panelists touched on the significance of adequate political representation, noting that the nation still has a long way to go until such a feat is achieved. Brazile - who frequently spoke of the need to elect more women to office - finalized her thoughts by imploring females in the audience to consider the onerous task of mounting a campaign. “Why you? Because there’s no one better. Why now? Because tomorrow’s not soon enough,” Brazile said passionately.

View event photos here.

Event Recap "There's No Crying in Newsrooms" Book Talk

Lisa Matthews, Kristin Grady Gilger, Julia Wallace, Amy Eisman, Betsy Fischer Martin, and Cory Haik

October 3, 2019

The Women & Politics Institute and the School of Communication Journalism Division hosted an empowering book talk with co-authors and educators Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace. Their book, There’s No Crying In Newsrooms, captures the essence of what it’s like to navigate the world of journalism as a woman—from sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement to suppressing emotions and crying in bathrooms, the authors discussed the hardships of maneuvering through womanhood in a profession conventionally dominated by men.

Joined by Lisa Matthews of the Associated Press and Cory Haik of VICE, the panelists shared their unique stories of climbing to the top of their fields, underscoring the extent to which double-standards and hypocrisy often plague and disillusion female journalists at every juncture in their careers. As Betsy Fischer Martin moderated the talk, the women offered advice for aspiring young professionals who seek to subvert gender norms in the office.

When asked how she makes important decisions at the managerial level without appearing “bossy” to her subordinates, Matthews said, “I just do it with a smile.” 

Event Recap: The Electability Question in 2020

Left to right: Nicole Fossier, Li Zhou, Betsy Fischer Martin, and Amanda Hunter

September 18, 2019

As part of our shared Gender on the Ballot initiative, the Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation co-hosted a panel discussion on campus to shed light on what the much-discussed concept of “electability” actually means to voters in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.

After presenting top-line findings from the poll, Nicole Fossier (Benenson Strategy Group) joined Amanda Hunter (Barbara Lee Family Foundation) and Li Zhou (Vox) in a panel discussion about what the electability discussion means for the women running for president. The panel was moderated by WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin.  

View more photos of the event here, and watch the livestream here. 

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Upcoming Events

October 15: #ShePersisted: Women, Politics & Power in the New Media World
Register here

October 30: Film Screening: Knock Down the House 
Register here

Students in a classroom

The Evolving Picture of An Elected Official

October 2, 2019

WPI adjunct faculty member Amanda Fuchs Miller writes about the possible change in the wind about what an elected official looks like, "perhaps because of the 1,834 women who won office at the state and federal level during the midterm elections."

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Supreme Court building

A Look Back: Reactions of Women Voters to the Kavanaugh Confirmation

September 16, 2019

In her newest Gender on the Ballot blog post, Betsy Fischer Martin writes, "With reports over the weekend of new sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the debate over whether he should serve on the nation's highest court has re-emerged as a political issue."  

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Congresswoman Underwood addressing the graduating class of WeLeaders

Event Recap: WeLead Graduation

The Women & Politics Institute was pleased to graduate 28 members of the 2018-19 WeLead class on May 8th in the DC offices of MacAndrews & Forbes. WeLead alumna and newly-elected Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), shared her story about why and when she decided to run for office.  Underwood stressed that it wasn't 'easy' or 'convenient' to run for office, but that it was important.  Healthcare is one important reason she ran for office, and an area in which she hopes to make a difference in Congress.

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WeLead Reader

A curated newsletter, delivered to inboxes on Saturday mornings, readers can catch up on a week’s worth of important new developments about women running for office, serving as leaders and engaging in the political arena.

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Gender on the Ballot Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all the latest news + gender analysis in election 2020.

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WPI Newsletter

Sign up for the WPI Newsletter to view recent highlights and learn about upcoming opportunities and events.

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Carissa Smith

WeLead Alumni Spotlight

Carissa Smith, National Women's Vote Director at Biden for President 

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WeLead class of 2019-2020

Close the Gap

WeLead trains young women to actively engage in today's political environment.

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Brianne Nadeau

WeLead Speaker Spotlight

Brianne K. (SPA/MPP '06), D.C. Councilmember, Ward 1

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Betsy Fischer Martin, Anna Palmer, and Jake Sherman

On Campus ·

Authors Offer an Inside Look at Congress During the Trump Administration

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