Michigan ranks 36th in the nation when it comes to women in elected office, with women making up only 20.9% of the current legislature. When you consider research from the University of Michigan showing that diverse groups of people are more productive and come to better solutions than homogeneous groups (see “In Professor’s Model, Diversity = Productivity,” The New York Times), the lack of women in our state, county, and municipal offices means we are missing an opportunity for healthier public debates and stronger public policies.
The low number of women in office is not a partisan problem; it is a Michigan problem. But you can help to reverse this trend. As a local political leader, you hold the keys to determining whether Michigan will remain near the bottom of diverse representation, or whether there will be opportunities for all Michiganders in elected office. We ask that you look into your community and invite up-and-coming women leaders to attend Ready to Run Michigan!
Ready to Run Michigan will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. This nonpartisan training is sponsored by the Grand Valley State University Women's Center, with funding provided by Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. TheReady to Run Michigan agenda features two tracks designed to accommodate the needs of women at different points in their political careers: "I'm Ready to Run...Now What?" and "I'm Not Ready To Run Yet, But..." The first track is for women planning to run for office in the immediate future, while the second track is for those interested in getting more information about different ways to get involved in politics and how to position themselves for a possible run in the future.
You may learn more about Ready to Run Michigan online at http://www.gvsu.edu/women_cen, and we have attached flyers that you may share with women in your community. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Jo Ann Wassenaar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-331-2748. You can also stay up-to-date on our program developments by liking Ready To Run Michigan on Facebook and following GVSUWomensCtr on Twitter.