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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.

Gender on the Ballot

Exciting News! The Barbara Lee Family Foundation and the Women & Politics Institute at American University, School of Public Affairs are teaming up for a new nonpartisan project: Gender on the Ballot.
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Event Recap

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.

Underwood shared with the young women who currently work in federal agencies, Congress, non-profits and advocacy groups that some of the first calls she made when she decided to run were to her WeLead classmates.  Several of them came out to campaign for her in Illinois, even though it wasn't convenient, because it was important.  Representative Underwood was also honored as the alumna recipient for the Alice Paul Awards, which celebrate the commitment to continuing Alice Paul's vision for women's full equality. Underwood congratulated and took a picture with each WeLeader during the ceremony, which was followed by a lively and lovely reception, co-sponsored by MacAndrews & Forbes

Read more about the event here

Big intersection with cars driving on the road

At the Intersection of 2020: A Lens into Candidate Complexities

The simple sorting of candidates by gender, race, or political party does not give voters the full picture. SPA Dean Vicky Wilkins writes about intersectionality in the 2020 race.  

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Race track for gender on the ballot

Gender on the Debate Stage: Night 2 Numbers

June 28, 2019

Betsy Fischer Martin looks back on the second night of democratic debates. 

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Gender on the debate stage

Gender on the Debate Stage: Night 1 Numbers

June 27, 2019

Betsy Fischer Martin looks back on the first night of democratic debates.

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Beth Roberts headshot

WeLead Alumni Spotlight

Beth Roberts, Senior Program Officer, Finance, Investment and Trade at Millennium Challenge Corporation

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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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Keenan Austin Reed photo

WeLead Speaker Spotlight

Keenan Austin Reed, Chief of Staff, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-4)

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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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