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Call for Hoosier Women to Run for Office

Hoosier women make up less than a fifth of the Indiana state legislature. (
Hoosier women make up less than a fifth of the Indiana state legislature. (
October 30, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Women historically are reluctant to run for political office in the Hoosier State, but there's a movement under way to change that.

After the election of Donald Trump as president last November, a group formed called Women for Change Indiana, and now it has more than 15,000 members.

Jennifer Williams, the group's co-founder, says the political climate in the state and nation has touched a nerve with women and they are ready to step up to make their voices heard.

Williams says when women are brought to the table, the tone and the conversation changes because they are bridge builders, and very collaborative by nature.

"When legislation is presented by women, it is more bipartisan in its effort, and so to that end I think it really behooves the whole nation to have a strong representation of women in government," she states.

Williams says a representative government needs to be exactly that, reflective of the people who live in the state.

Women make up 51 percent of the population of Indiana, but only 19 percent of elected officials are women.

Williams says as a result, much of the legislation that's offered doesn't represent women's beliefs.

As to why more women don't run for office, Indianapolis City Councilor Colleen Fanning says it's often as simple as they aren't asked to. She also maintains women tend to shy away from the spotlight and conflict.

"As bridge builders, we always want to make people happy and we certainly want them to agree, and that's just not possible in a lot of the political sphere,” she states. “And it's OK, and it's why democracy is great."

Both Williams and Fanning encourage Hoosier women of all ages to join the movement, even those who have no political aspirations because they can help encourage and empower those who do.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN