Democrats, Women — November 22, 2016 at 8:31 am

Emerge Michigan extends application deadline in response to high demand from future female leaders


For women eager to get involved in our democracy, this program will give you the tools you need to lead.

Many of us were sure Hillary Clinton was going to break the highest glass ceiling in the land, and were — and still are — stunned that didn’t happen. But this is no time to wallow. Now, more than ever, women need to lead, and Emerge Michigan can help them do that.

Emerge Michigan identifies, trains and encourages Democratic women to run for office, get elected and seek higher office. And in the days after the election, applications to Emerge Michigan’s program flooded in — so many that the organization decided to extend the application deadline to the end of 2016.

Here’s what Beth Kelly, executive director of Emerge Michigan, had to say:

We’ve had a huge uptick in interest since the results of the 2016 election were announced. Emerge Michigan has had more than 40 women apply for our program since the general election results were announced. That’s up from 17 we collected over the first five weeks of our submission period. We’re actually looking for new sponsors for our training program to accommodate all the new interest. We want to make sure we have the ability to engage all these women and send them down a path to running for office.

Emerge Michigan’s intensive, cohort-based seven-month training program is unique. As the number of elected Democratic women remains flat or even declines, the need for the organizatin’s work is growing. A pool of highly qualified Democratic candidates is being left untapped. Women often don’t see themselves running for office — they assume they aren’t experienced enough or they don’t know where to begin. Emerge Michigan, which is part of a national network currently working in 16 states, is changing that.

Kelly believes the results of the 2016 election have motivated women to step up, driving the high volume of applications coming in.

We have never seen anything like this before. What’s more, we know it’s the election results that have inspired women to act, because that’s what they’re telling us. The women who have applied to Emerge Michigan’s program since the election have indicated that Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat caused them to want to make a difference and run for office themselves.

The shockingly different results of the 2016 election from what Democrats expected has awakened a movement among Democratic women. They’ve realized that we still live in a really sexist society, where arguably the most qualified person to ever run for presidency is a woman and she can lose to a completely unqualified candidate, and the only way to change things is to do it themselves.

Emerge Michigan’s program only trains Democratic women, providing 70 hours of in-depth candidate training so women are ‘ready to run’ for office. Participants master public speaking and communication, fundraising, media and messaging, networking, campaign strategy, field operations, technology and new media, diversity and cultural competency, and ethical leadership.

Sommer Foster, a 2016 program participant, is now Canton Township Trustee-Elect following her successful campaign. She had this to say about Emerge Michigan:

Although I’d worked on several campaigns before I became a candidate, I learned so much from the Emerge Michigan fellowship. Not only that, I had a sisterhood of amazing women supporting me along the way, and great mentors able to provide advice and assistance. It’s a great program! If you are thinking of running for office, you should check it out.

You can learn more about Emerge Michigan at their website, and details on the application process are HERE. You have until December 31 to apply.

Women and men who want to support Emerge Michigan’s work — and the growing number of applicants — can make a donation HERE.

As Kelly points out, when women win, everyone wins.

For Emerge Michigan, it’s about more than seeing those women who come through our program succeed. It’s about our communities as a whole. It’s already been proven that women in elected office overwhelmingly support and push forward democratic principles like equality and fairness. Studies have proven that when women hold public office they are more actively involved in a variety of gender-salient issue areas, including healthcare, the economy, education and the environment. What’s more, women legislators are more responsive to constituents, value cooperation over hierarchical power and can forge agreements in situations where men have trouble finding common ground. The entire country benefits when we have more women in elected office.

Could you be the woman who finally busts through the ultimate glass ceiling? There’s only one way to find out.

[Image courtesy of Emerge Michigan.]