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.
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.