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Think women don't win elections? They do. And more of them should run.

Women are just as electable as men — they just need to get on the ballot.

Think women don't win elections? They do. And more of them should run.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

In February 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used these words to defend silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren after invoking an obscure rule during her speech on the Senate floor.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is one of 21 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate. Photo via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


The dynamic was striking: A strong, opinionated woman was directly and vehemently shut down by a powerful man in politics.

It wasn't particularly surprising, though — men in power have silenced their female counterparts for much of U.S. history, and we're still barely emerging from that norm.

Remember the above image of the Freedom Caucus discussing whether the Republican health care bill should repeal maternity, prenatal, and newborn coverage? This is what happens when women's voices are missing politics — we get rooms full of men making decisions that directly affect women.

There are more than 500,000 elected offices in the U.S. Currently, women hold 25% of them.

Women make up about 51% of the population, yet Congress is 80% male. Just six states have women governors. Out of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., only 22 have women mayors.

Representation matters, and we don't have it yet.

The good news is that women win elections just as often as men — when they run.

This lack of female representation in politics irked activist and entrepreneur Erin Loos Cutraro. So she founded She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that encourages women to run for office and helps them along that journey. Lush's Charity Pot program has helped fund the organization, which recently launched the #250KBY2030 campaign, with the goal of getting 250,000 women running for office by 2030.

That means encouraging women we know to run and inspiring young people to dream big. It's one thing to say women should run for office, but it's another to figure out how to make that happen.

She Should Run founder and CEO Erin Loos Cutraro spoke with me to share how the #250KBY2030 campaign can help get women on the ballot.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Since She Should Run was founded in 2011, nearly 40,000 women have been encouraged to run for office through the program. Image via She Should Run.‌

What prompted you to found She Should Run?

After being involved in politics for a number of years, I decided that it was time to change the playbook, because we needed different outcomes with who we saw on the ballot across the country.

Now, as a mother to two daughters, I can't sit by without doing everything possible to ensure that girls in the next generation grow up in a world where they are equal to everyone else and have the same opportunities as anyone.

Why is it so important for 250,000 to run by 2030? Why that number and that date?

There are over 500,000 elected offices in this country and it is our mission to see at least half the ballots filled with women in this lifetime rather than the next. This is a big goal, but we believe that is possible by 2030.

To achieve this goal and close the gender gap, people from all backgrounds and walks of life must come together and support women leaders in their communities.

Photo by Lush Cosmetics.

What specific challenges do women tend to face when running for office?

We know that when women run, they win at the same rate as men. They're just not running.

That doesn't mean that there aren't challenges — like fears about raising money, balancing home, work, and campaigning, and other barriers unique to women — but the bigger challenge is convincing women of all walks of life that they have something to give to their communities and their country and to put their names on the ballot.

Does it matter if women run under a particular party?

When I started She Should Run, it was tremendously important that our organization be nonpartisan, because we know that we are not going to get the best policies if the brightest people representing all perspectives do not have a seat at the table.

That why it's our mission to have women from all backgrounds, walks of life, and all across the political spectrum raising their hands to run for office.

What kind of women should run for office?

This a very short answer: Any woman who wants to make a difference in her community, state, or country. ‌‌

When we say #SheShouldRun, we're talking to each and every one of you—women from all backgrounds, from all walks of...

Posted by She Should Run on Thursday, March 8, 2018

What’s the first step a woman should take if she thinks she wants to run for office?

Join She Should Run. Our programs are designed to give women the tools they need to be ready to run.

Our one-of-a kind Incubator helps women in our community get specific on why they want to run and the impact they'll make in elected office. Once they've made the decision to run, we demystify resources available for additional support on their journeys to elected leadership.

Joining the Incubator also gives women access to a community made up of thousands of other women who are in various stages on their paths to public office.

What can women who can't/don't want to run for office do to support women who are considering it?

If there is a woman in your community who you believe would be great in office, encourage her to consider running! Our Ask a Woman to Run tool is a quick, easy way for you to tell us about great women leaders you know who should consider a run for office.

Explain why you believe she would be a strong leader and what she could bring to the table with her personal experience and narrative. Then point her to She Should Run and our flagship program, the Incubator, that can help her take that next step on her path to public office.

Many of us know a woman who would be a great leader would be a tremendous problem solver for her community; oftentimes, she just needs that extra push.

Additionally, women can work or volunteer to support women candidates who they believe in. There are a record-breaking number of women running for office across the country at every level of government — state, local, and federal.

Giving time and/or resources to a campaign is also a great way to see if you want to run for office and to gain invaluable experience for a future run.

What specific role do you think men should play to empower/encourage women to run for office?

Everyone is necessary for us to achieve our goals of political parity and most certainly to get to #250KBY2030. Men can be mentors, supporters, and staffers to female candidates. They can also raise their daughters to be strong, ambitious women and support the women in their lives when they decide to throw their hats in the rings.

Where can women find more information about what elected offices are open and how to go about running?

Our first-of-its-kind She Should Run Incubator offers resources and a community that meets women where they are in their paths to elected leadership.

The community aspect provides a wealth of knowledge from women all over the country running for office at various levels of government who share their stories and experiences that prove to be useful for other women running for office.

The Incubator's unique approach focuses our members on why they want to run and the impact they'll make in elected office. And we demystify resources available once women in our community have made the decision to run.

Image via She Should Run.

We also recently launched a new tool called Pinpoint, an interactive tool that allows you to find and share valuable educational resources that focus on running and serving in elected office. There are so many local organizations that can assist a woman in running for office, so we made it easier for women to search for them!

All of these programs and tools are designed to simplify a woman's path to elected office.

Bottom line: We need more women to run for office, and She Should Run is offering the tools to help make it happen. Let's use them to give more girls and women a seat at the table.

She Should Run is supported, in part, by Lush Cosmetics' Charity Pot program, which funds grassroots organizations fighting for human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. Learn more at She Should Run and Lush USA.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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