Erin Loos Cutraro, She Should Run; AP
She Should Run, the nonpartisan organization that helps recruit and train women to run for public office, is launching a radical campaign to achieve gender parity among elected officials by 2030, Axios has exclusively learned.
- The campaign is called "250kBy2030" and it aims to have women make up half of the 500,000 elected positions in the U.S. within a little less than 13 years. Currently, women only account for less than 25% of those positions and previous research suggests it would take approximately 100 years to achieve gender parity in these.
- "We really felt like it was important to make it clear that we're in it for the long haul," Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run, tells Axios. "We know it's not going to happen overnight."
- One big thing: Cutraro tells us more than 15,000 women have joined the She Should Run community since the election alone, and 11,000 of them are actively planning to run.
Why now: "We're really taking advantage of this surge and saying, 'Now is our chance to build this path,'" Cutraro tells Axios. "And that means these women who are thinking about running can be whatever type of leader they want to be and that there isn't — and by the way has never been — an exact formula to get elected."
Today's official launch will include a call-to-action to women (leaders, lawmakers, activists, journalists, etc.) to join the program as a mentor for those interested in running, as well as invite women interested in getting elected to join the community.
Why it matters: Although She Should Run focuses heavily on local positions, this initiative is reflected in similar campaigns on the federal level. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois created a "Build the bench" program to recruit and train women to run of public office. There were an estimated 40 attendees at her most recent event last week in Rockford, IL.
Cutraro tells Axios in her experiences with She Should Run, the biggest reason women are hesitant to run for office is that they question themselves and their qualifications. "Research backs that women question their qualifications in a way that men don't, and we see that come in a variety of forms as women come into the community," says Cutraro, adding that fundraising is a big issue for women.
"It's not that they don't think they can learn how to fundraise, it's that they're not certain about what they're selling." So Cutraro says the 250kBy2030 campaign will specifically focus on teaching women to focus on why they are running and their vision of leadership.
The Trump effect: Cutraro tells Axios President Trump's unconventional candidacy and eventual election has influenced some women's decision to consider running. "I think that some women in the She Should Run community look at that example ... and say you know, voters are looking for something different right now." And she says that'll manifest in the campaign's focus on not telling women what they're "supposed to say to voters," but more about the unique leadership style they can bring to the field. "We are at a point in time where if you are bringing your full self to that leadership you want to provide, anything is possible," she says.
But would we be having this conversation if Hillary Clinton were president?
"I think it would look different," Cutraro says. "I believe that if Hillary Clinton were elected, our work in some ways would have gotten easier, and in other ways would have gotten much harder. Because a number of people would sort of jump to the conclusion that if you've broken the ultimate glass ceiling, we're there, but that's part of the reality of this."
What's next: She Should Run's annual event, Our National Conversation, on Nov. 6. "This will be our big first public event where we're going to use it as an opportunity to really highlight some of the incredible leaders who can help inform and inspire women who are thinking about running for office," Cutraro says.