Why She Should Run Being Nonpartisan Matters

| Kathleen Kiernan

She Should Run is a nonpartisan nonprofit promoting leadership and encouraging women from all walks of life to run for office. We are driven by a vision of seeing 250,000 women run for office by 2030. Our programs provide an approachable starting place and network for women leaders considering a future run by providing community, resources, and growth opportunities.

Often, as a team, we are asked why we are nonpartisan and how we continue to maintain a nonpartisan stance in today’s political climate. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of nonpartisan is “free from party affiliation, bias, or designation.” Although we all have our own personal viewpoints and preferences, we sat down to discuss why it’s important to each of us that She Should Run is nonpartisan.

From our Founder and CEO, Erin Loos Cutraro

“The gender gap in elected office – from city council to Capitol Hill to the bench of the Supreme Court – is staggering. And the path toward equal representation in our lifetime is not one that can or will be achieved if we put party affiliation in the way of possibility. In order to see women fully represented in government, we need to celebrate what can be accomplished with diversity of voice, and recognize the impact women and girls of all political stripes can make on our country by pursuing elected office. In an increasingly polarized country, She Should Run offers an essential space for all women to come together – to listen, challenge and learn from another – and to ultimately solidify a path toward making a difference.

From our Political Pipeline Director, Jarinete Santos

“My favorite part of working for She Should Run is our belief ‘that women of all political leanings, ethnicities, and backgrounds should have an equal opportunity to lead in elected office and that our democracy will benefit from the varied perspectives and experiences that women bring to leadership.’ Our unique and varied experiences and ideas are what equip us to represent our localities, states, and nation. Women comprise 50.8% of the US population, approximately 166 million people, and that group is comprised of women who are Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and Undecideds. In order to have a representative government we need women from across the political spectrum to sit at the table; and we get the best from these women as they debate, compromise, innovate and challenge both amongst each other and with the men already at the table. We hail our government for being ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’ however it is not fully so until women are equally part of that representation.”

From our Chief of Staff, Christina Jackson Scott

“We all know that saying ‘sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you,’ but as a former English teacher in my previous life, I taught (and still wholeheartedly believe) the importance and strength of words. Words have specific meanings that we should understand when we use them, and at its simplest,  ‘nonpartisan’ is defined as ‘not biased.’ Our political conversation is one that is inherently full of strong preference and opinion, but what it should never be is biased. As an organization, She Should Run doesn’t just speak to, but models nonpartisanship by fostering an environment where all women can speak with and learn from each other free of unfair, unprejudiced judgment as they consider something as personal and significant as a run for office. I’m proud to be a part of a community that truly understands the meaning of ‘nonpartisan,’ and reinforces it in our work everyday.”

From our Marketing and Communications Director, Melissa Ivone

“It is important for women to have a seat at the table so that their distinct voices can be shared and their distinct needs can be met. I have always believed that the more diversity you have in a group, the more innovative and groundbreaking the ideas that come out of it are. But for this to have a dramatic impact on our country, it can’t only happen in an isolated area of government. It has to be ubiquitous. If we expect our government to be reflective of our population, every citizen should feel as if they have someone going to bat for them at the highest level. I’m so excited by the work She Should Run is doing because I want all women, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or political party to feel not only welcomed but encouraged to step up and lead.”

From our Donor Relations and Partnerships Manager, Kaitlyn Newman

“Simply put: our democracy is stronger when we have a plurality of voices shaping policy. I think the work that She Should Run does to engage women across the ideological spectrum through our nonpartisan approach is transformative. While I don’t believe that every woman’s challenges and barriers in her pursuit of her political ambitions are the same, I do believe that too often we find ourselves operating in hyperpolarized environments that systematically destroy the potential for learning exchanges characterized by humility, compassion, and connection. For many of the women who enroll in our programs, this is their first foray into politics and they might not be planning a run for 5, 10, or even 15 years from now. I love the idea of women connecting across difference through personal narrative and storytelling in the earliest stages of their political careers so that, when the time comes and they find themselves on opposite sides of seemingly intractable debates in their respective offices, they can draw on a shared humanity to collaborate effectively and to develop strategies and solutions that underscore equity and justice for all.”

From our Communications and Programs Associate, Kathleen Kiernan

“I was first introduced to She Should Run after the 2016 election. For me, the results were less than desirable but I wanted to do something. So I brought She Should Run to my university to touch on the gender gap in politics along with a bipartisan panel of current and formerly elected women in Mississippi. Seeing this panel of women from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different political leanings, and different world perspectives come together to discuss the barriers that all women face in leadership and how they overcame them was inspiring. That moment has stuck with me. These women, despite their differences, had the same interest: encouraging more women to speak up and do something. Frankly, this world needs more women standing together in sisterhood to change the status quo and fight for their communities. Certainly, as women are not a monolith, we will never all agree on every single thing but I promise you: we are stronger together. As a nonpartisan organization, She Should Run recognizes and honors the differences each woman has when coming to the table but we aim to create a sisterhood that finds common ground and stands together against sexism, discrimination, and bigotry.”

From our Fundraising Fellow, Priscilla Lugo

“I think it is important for us as a country to create a world in which both sides of the political spectrum can work together to institute positive change. In remaining nonpartisan, we are able to bring women of all different beliefs, political alignments, and skills together in bridging the gaps in representation that we see across the nation. By doing so, we are helping women lead this nation in a better direction and building community and coalitions across the aisle which will be crucial if anything is going to get done in an increasingly polarized country. It is inspiring to see these women work together and support each other in their goals and its equally inspiring seeing their accomplishments and what can happen when women support and empower other women. Recognizing others’ differences and still choosing to support, help and empower others is a powerful thing to witness, and it’s vital for the growth and betterment of our nation.”

Our democracy truly won’t be fully representative until we have women from all backgrounds and walks of life, all ethnicities and all political leanings running for public office. If you’re curious about running for office, we encourage you to join our Virtual or Regional Cohorts which demystify the process around running for office, provide a judgment-free zone to explore a future run, and connect you with a supportive network of women. If you want to see more women running for office, we challenge you to encourage a woman in your life to run for public office using our Ask A Woman to Run tool.

As a nonpartisan 501(C)(3) nonprofit, She Should Run does not offer political endorsements or financial support to candidates running for political office.

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