Research shows few women serve in public office.
Rutgers University is hosting a two-day training program to encourage New Jersey women to run for public office.
The so-called “Ready to Run” program takes place Friday and Saturday.
Debbie Walsh is with the Center for American Women and Politics at the University. She says women make up 18% of the United States Congress.
She says that number is not enough.
“Women make a difference when they serve. They bring different perspectives to the making of public policy and the process of governing. We need those new voices, those fresh voices, those different voices in the mix,” Walsh said.
She says the number is low in part because many women are disenchanted with what they see in Washington.
“They think things don’t get done in government. And so [they think] I’m going to work around government. I’m going to volunteer, do community service, start a non-profit organization,” Walsh said.
Walsh adds that while such work is important, systemic change comes from government.
Walsh also says about a third of the participants in the Rutgers program run for office afterwards.
New Jersey’s Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Camden Mayor Dana Redd are among the scheduled speakers.