So far, six women have declared their 2020 presidential candidacies, building on the momentum of the 2018 midterms when women ran — and won — in record-breaking numbers.

But while it seems that the floodgates for women are open, recent She Should Run stats show that there are significant barriers standing in the way. Of the thousands of women exploring a run for office, our data shows that only 13% of women move all the way from imagining their political future to actually filing the requisite paperwork.

That means, to see 1 woman run for office, 8 women need to seriously explore the possibility.

As an organization that specializes in being a starting place, we have seen it all, including those who dip a toe in the possibility of a future run to those who take off in the running, and win. But taking that first step is crucial, and exploration is valuable. So, the problem isn’t getting women to win — we know that when women run, they win at the same rate as men, it’s getting enough of them to even consider a run.

She Should Run has long been at the forefront encouraging women to explore a run for office, but to reach gender parity in our lifetime, we simply cannot effect such massive change alone.

For years, brands and business leaders have played an important role in amplifying She Should Run’s efforts. Our collaborations have been not only helped reach more women to explore a run for office, but they’ve also been an incredible booster for brands (research shows that organizations that invest in women’s leadership see improved performance, increases in profitability, reduced turnover, and enhanced innovation). Business leaders, with the extension of their network, have the unique ability to meet women where they are and normalize the conversation about women’s leadership.

That’s why we’re doubling down on our efforts to harness synergy with leaders and brands outside of political circles who believe in opening leadership pathways for women.

This week, along with additions to our board, we are energized to unveil our She Should Run Professional Development Series, a learning and development initiative for brands to offer their employees. This new effort that will harness the power of the business community to expand the talent pool of women running for office all across the country and at every level of government.

Why we’re launching this effort

She Should Run’s Incubator community of 16,000+ women exploring a run for office helped to identify some of the most important issues currently facing women who are exploring their road to run. Here’s what they said:

They’re suffering from imposter syndrome. “Do I know enough about the issues that I’m planning to support? Will I have time to learn them all before I announce I’m running?” These are the questions that women are asking us and themselves. Despite their skill-set, background or passion, they question their qualifications, even though they are more than qualified to run.

They’re curious about what it means to run for office. “I come from a political family but I never thought it was something I wanted to do. I want to think about what it would look like to be in a political position,” said Beth, a recent She Should Run virtual cohort participant.  “I needed a sisterhood to advocate for my endeavors,” said Yvette, another participant from Beth’s cohort. Women like Beth and Yvette stay connected because they realize they aren’t alone.

In order to overcome impostor syndrome and help boost equality by helping women understand what running for public office can really mean for them, women need more support. She Should Run’s offerings will be specifically designed to help with these issues.

How She Should Run’s Professional Development Series Will Work

She Should Run’s new series will include professional training workshops and discussions facilitated by She Should Run, for employers to offer their employees. MZ Wallace, Girls Who Code, Lingua Franca, and Birchbox will be the first partners for this effort, offering the curriculum, and more corporate partners will be announced soon.

Attendees of the workshops will leave with:

  • Actionable strategies to take steps toward solving gender inequality
  • A deep understanding of the myths and barriers of running for office
  • The ability to translate professional experience into civic engagement or political leadership

With the launch of this new employee offering, the organization is calling on forward-thinking companies nationwide to recognize their role to encourage more women to run for office, by supporting professional curriculum proven to help women navigate gender, power and leadership within both the private and public sectors.

Recruiting more women to explore a run will not be easy

Working hand-in-hand with business leaders committed to equality, we can accelerate the momentum of progress so that our daughters’ generation will know equal representation in leadership. Together, our collective power and cultural influence will help us reach the hundreds of thousands of women across America silently considering a run. Together, anything is possible.

Our goal to have more women seriously explore a run for public office will only be possible if we get serious about the goal itself, the road to run, and the role we all play to ensure we are bringing more and more women into the pipeline.

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