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Ohio Women Encouraged to Lace Up Their "Running" Shoes

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June 6, 2008

Columbus, OH - Women across Ohio are being encouraged to "GO RUN" - for political office. The White House Project, a nonprofit women's political support group, is holding a three-day workshop to do just that, starting today in Columbus.

Even with high profile names like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Ohio Secretary of State Janet Brunner, very few Ohio women enter the political arena. Program organizer Faith Winter says more than 100 women from across the state have signed up to participate. Ohio's General Assembly is only 17 percent female - which, in Winter's view, is simply not enough.

"And when our numbers are so low, it's hard for women to find mentors. It's hard to find women who look like them that have been able to be successful; and so, we really need to increase those numbers before women start self-identifying."

Nationally, Winter adds, the numbers also can be discouraging - women make up an average of 16 percent of the members of Congress, and 22 percent of state legislatures.

"We're behind countries like Iraq, Rwanda, South Africa, and Japan. I think not only does Ohio have to do better, but our country has to do better, at putting women in positions of leadership."

The three-day "GO RUN" goal is to inspire women to enter politics, by prompting them to identify and overcome roadblocks and to establish support networks during their campaigns. Learn more about the organization online, at www.whitehouseproject.org.

Jim Mishler/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH