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  • Writer's pictureSusan Otim-Neal

Politics: How Women of Color (Yes, You) Can Run for Office & Lead

On Inauguration night – January 20, 2017 – I was at a Women’s March leadership dinner in Washington, DC. I was glad to be there, and also disappointed to be the only woman of color in the room. I recognize that any number of factors may have contributed to my being the only Black woman there. Perhaps others had been invited and had chosen not to attend. It’s also not a secret that women, and women of color especially, often encounter ceilings and face multiple barriers to their career advancement and leadership pursuits. Women of color are unconsciously, consciously and systemically excluded from and severely underrepresented in politics, boardrooms and leadership teams in every industry across America. And naturally, women encountering these barriers to advancement experience a great deal of angst and frustration, at times giving up. I also suspect that many women of color may not be aware of the resources and leadership opportunities available to them, especially within Public Office. If you are a woman (or know a woman) that is thinking about, or open to learning more about how to run for office, now or in the future, check out the resources below. You’ll find both Democratic and Non-Partisan organizations ready to train and support you (or a woman you know) in running at the Local, State and Federal levels. This list is not exhaustive, and its a good place to start.

  1. Emily’s List is the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. With it’s grassroots community of over five million women, they have raised $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates. Since their founding in 1985, they have trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Forty percent of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving. Learn more at

  2. Emerge America gives Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Emerge is the only in-depth, seven-month, 70-hour training program providing aspiring female leaders with cutting edge tools and training to run for elected office and elevate themselves in our political system. Learn more at

  3. She Should Run is a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization expanding the talent pool of future female elected leaders. She Should Run started as a project in 2008 and has evolved to become a movement working to create a culture that inspires women and girls to aspire towards public leadership. Learn more at

  4. VoteRunLead is a national, nonpartisan organization that unleashes the power of women leaders in democracy through training, technology and communication, aiming for large-scale impact and accelerating women’s community and political leadership in the U.S. Learn more at

  5. Electing Women Alliance is a network of local giving circles around the country that are engaging women in politics as donors and raisers in support of women candidates. They facilitate the sharing of resources, information and best practices. Contact:


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