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CAWP Election Watch

Women candidates and their campaigns: the latest info, trends and historical context.

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Education and Training

Ready to Run logo  

Ready to Run® is a national network of candidate recruitment and training programs committed to electing more women to public office.

We Need More Women in Public Office
Research shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policymaking. Women change the way government works, and their voices are needed in legislative chambers around the country.

About Ready to Run®
Created by the Center for American Women and Politics to train women in candidates, Ready to Run® is a non-partisan campaign training program to encourage women to run for elective office, position themselves for appointive office, work on a campaign, or get involved in public life in other ways. Central to the Ready to Run® model is an innovative, comprehensive curriculum that incorporates the political culture and climate of the locale and uses state and local campaign experts to highlight the specifics of running in a particular state or region. The program demystifies the process of running for elected office, encourages more women to mount campaigns, and introduces them to elected and appointed leaders, campaign consultants, and party officials in their state to whom they can turn as they get ready to run. CAWP’s model curriculum covers fundraising, positioning oneself for elected office, navigating the political party structure, media training, the nuts and bolts of organizing a campaign, mobilizing voters, and crafting a message.

Diversity Initiative: Increasing the Representation of Women of Color in Elected Office
CAWP has developed a Diversity Initiative component of Ready to Run® to attract more women of color into the political process and encourage them to seek public leadership. The Diversity Initiative in New Jersey comprises three separate programs for African American women, Asian American women, and Latinas. Since the creation of the Diversity Initiative, fully half of participants in the New Jersey Ready to Run® program have been women of color. Forty percent of the women serving in New Jersey’s legislature are women of color.

Ready to Run® Works!
Since CAWP created the program in New Jersey over 15 years ago, more than 2,000 women have attended, and the program is changing Garden State politics. Over a quarter of Ready to Run® alumnae have run for office, and of those who ran, 70% won their races. When we first launched Ready to Run®, New Jersey ranked 39th in the nation for women serving in its legislature. As of September 2014, the Garden State ranks 10th. We are also seeing gains for women of color: New Jersey now has a record 16 women of color serving in its legislature.

Changing the Political Climate One State at a Time
The results are clear: a direct intervention like Ready to Run® can help a state with a poor record of electing women. Now CAWP has developed a Training Network to help other states replicate the program, building a lasting presence to change the political culture by grooming women candidates. Ready to Run® partners have established successful programs in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont, with more on the way.

Because CAWP has already tested and honed the program over 15 years, our partners assume minimal risk and increase the likelihood of long-term success. The model is adaptable to any state, and partners receive ongoing assistance while developing their programs. Ready to Run® partners gain insight from each other’s successes, build connections, exchange ideas for best practices, and discover new approaches to recruiting and training women for public life.

CAWP’s ultimate goal is to help build 50 thriving independent programs fueling the national pipeline of women candidates.

Interested in starting a Ready to Run® program in your state?

Learn more at the National Network page or contact Jean Sinzdak at 732-932-9384 ext. 260 or