In the United States, less than one in four of the country’s elected leaders are women. Running Start, a not-for-profit organization based out of Washington D.C., aims to address the gender gap head-on with nonpartisan training programs for young women.
“Through education and inspiration, we give young women the confidence, connections and capabilities they need to run for public office,” said Serena Saunders, Staff Assistant for Programs & Communication at Running Start. “We want to impress upon young women that they’re not alone in their ambition. There’s a community of brilliant, politically active, engaged young women out there. We connect them with peers, and with mentors and role models who can provide career advice.”
One type of program Running Start offers is specifically for high school girls, and gives them the opportunity to learn directly from political experts. Every summer, 50 students from across the country convene in Washington D.C. for a week of non-stop interactive programming. With the COVID-19 pandemic, staff had to reimagine the nuts and bolts of the training—and with their summer training just a few months away, they had a fast-approaching deadline.