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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.

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.

Panelists Included:
Nicole Fossier
, Associate, Benenson Strategy Group
Amanda Hunter, Research and Communications Director, Barbara Lee Family Foundation
Li Zhou, Politics and Policy Reporter, Vox
Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director, Women & Politics Institute

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Event Recap: Women's Vote at 100

Women's Vote at 100 Panelists


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Co-hosted with Women In Film & Video, WPI screened excerpts from One Woman One Vote, an award-winning documentary that captures the plight and history of the women’s suffrage movement. Additionally, audience members watched an exclusive trailer of the upcoming film Resisterhood, which documents the female-driven Resistance movement that has made waves nationwide since 2017.

Following the screenings, WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer-Martin moderated a panel and Q&A session with three prominent women involved in the filmmaking process: Ruth Pollak, the writer and producer of One Woman One Vote, Cheryl Jacobs Crim, filmmaker of Resisterhood, and Mimi Hassanein, a political candidate featured in Resisterhood.

Recognizing the vast amounts of progress that women have made in a considerably short of time, Crim noted, “We’ve come a long way, and yet we have so much further to go.”

View more photos from the event.

Event Recap: WeLead Graduation

Congresswoman Underwood addressing the graduating class of WeLeaders

Welead graduation 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

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. Graduates and their guests were welcomed by WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin, American University School of Public Affairs Dean Vicky Wilkins, and MacAndrews & Forbes Senior Vice President Elise Aronson.  All three women encouraged the graduates to aim high and support each other.  

Their remarks were followed by WeLead alumna and newly-elected Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), who 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.

Read more about the event here

Upcoming Events

September 24: A Discussion with Congresswoman Alma Adams 
New Time: 7:30 PM

October 3: Book Talk: There's No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead 
Register here

October 9: Book Talk: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics
Register here

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

Supreme Court building

Reactions of Women Voters to the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings

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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old-time numbers

Gender on the Debate Stage: September Numbers

September 13, 2019

Betsy Fischer Martin has the numbers on the most recent Democratic debate, noting that "30% of the questions posed went to one of the three women on stage: Harris, Klobuchar, or Warren."  

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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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Liz Murphy

WeLead Alumni Spotlight

Elizabeth “Liz” Murphy, State Policy Director, Sandy Hook Promise

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welead 2018-2019 class

Close the Gap

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

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Kristin Davison

WeLead Speaker Spotlight

Kristin Davison, VP & General Consultant, Axiom Strategies

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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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