How Important is Training for Women Candidates?

December 15, 2011

By Kathy Groob, Political Consultant and Founder of – Political candidate training/readiness is an old concept, but in recent years women’s groups have recognized the value of preparing women leaders to run for public office.  National and statewide organizations are training women year-round and providing the keys to election success….just for women.  Bottom line; training and preparation are extremely important for women candidates.

……”training can lead to feeling empowered and confident in her ability to run successfully,” says Kathy Groob.

With so few women serving in Congress, just 17 percent, it’s apparent that something is holding women back.  Whether it is knowledge, training, money or time, women aren’t running for office in the numbers needed to move the needle in terms of having an equal voice.

Candidate skills can be developed a variety of ways, through one-on-one coaching, political consultants, books, videos and other resources. By participating in a comprehensive training program, women learn the entire spectrum of running a professional campaign that can lead to feeling empowered and confident in her ability to run successfully.  Supplemental training and education can be gained through mentors and professional advisors.

Women’s political organizations and universities offer training programs that often include the basics of navigating the political system as well as how-to instructions for campaign strategy, fundraising, media and message.  In a setting surrounded entirely by women, future candidates are free to express their fears and ask questions about running in a peer setting that can often become a support networking group when the women actually run for office.

Candidate Training Programs

Emerge America – 6-7 month programs for Democratic women, currently in nine states

Ready to Run – Weekend training program sponsored by The Center for American Women and Politics

She Should Run – Support and resources sponsored by The Women’s Campaign Fund

The Winning Edge – Political Opportunity Training Program sponsored by EMILY’s List

Political Institute for Women – Training programs in Florida and Georgia

Go Run – Political training in various areas of the U.S. sponsored by The White House Project

Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics – Training program for women in Pennsylvania

Ready to Run Pennsylvania – Training program sponsored by The Center for Women in Politics at Chatham University

Ruth’s List – Candidate training in Florida

Iowa 50/50 in 2020 – Mentoring and candidate training in Iowa

Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics – Candidate training program for South Carolina and Georgia women

Illinois Institute for Women’s Leadership – Candidate training and support for Illinois women

Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life – Candidate training programs in Missouri

The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University – Candidate training program at Yale University

Marin Women’s Political Action Committee – Spring and Fall candidate training for women in Marin and Sonoma Counties, California.

Women in Politics Institute – Candidate training for college and high school women at American University in Washington, D.C.

Sally’s List – Candidate recruitment and training program for women in Oklahoma.

Running Start – Political training and leadership for high school girls

Elect Her: Campus Women Win – Political training for college women to run for college elections

Ignite – Political training for young women (14-22) in Texas and California.

Progressive Majority – Training and candidate support organization for both women and men

Additional Resources

ElectWomen Magazine Candidate Training Events –

Women’s Political and Training Books

If your organization was not included in this article, please send information to[email protected]

Photo courtesy of The Center for American Women and Politics, She Should Run program.