Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The White House Project

Some pictures from the weekend and not in any specific order:Ann Bancroft - arctic explorer. She has amazing stories to tell...
Becky Lourey - former senator and ran for governor

It was fun to see Mom's bringing their young girls as well...

Marie C. Wilson - founder and president of The White House Project. She also started bring your daughter to work day....

Eveleth City Councilor Liz Kuoppala :)

There were over 100 women and girls who came for the weekend despite blizzard like weather. A funny story: Ann Bancroft was notified of the weather and was told it would be understandable if she couldn't come. Ann's response: "my reputation is on the line here". It would be difficult to explain why you could ski or dogsled across both poles, but couldn't make it to Tower due to bad weather.

Here's Jen....

The steering committee with Winona LaDuke...

Winona LaDuke....
What a great weekend, very motivational. I was talking to a 15 year old girl who after one session over the weekend, decided to run for class president. She wants everyone's concerns to be heard and have all the students in her class be able to say what they want. Her motivation? Her coach!!!


Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Thanks for posting the pictures. I look forward to hearing more of the inspirational stories you all heard. Sounds like a great experience!

Liz... Way to go helping put the event together.

Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

from today's StarTribune:

Marie Wilson: We need their voices
Women are still sparingly found in the political landscape -- but as a recent event shows, that will change.


Nothing was going to stop these women. Not even the icy roads and gusts of wind and snow that threatened to shut down their event. They came from 13 counties and seven tribes, more than 160 passionate women dedicated to changing the faces and voices of political leadership across northeastern Minnesota.

In over 30 years of advocating for women's issues, I have never experienced anything like last weekend's Iron Range Go Run.

These women, who came from more than 50 different cities and townships and from extraordinarily divergent backgrounds, all faced hurdles to political leadership -- hurdles made larger by their shared status as rural women.

Being a woman in politics: It's a tough business. And it's even tougher when you're entering a political landscape where no woman has trod before. We are far from achieving a representational democracy and a political climate where diverse women feel that their voices and visions count. Surprisingly to many, women's political representation is still perilously low nationwide; the country ranks 71st, behind such stalwarts of democracy as Iraq, Sudan and North Korea. Forty-four counties in greater Minnesota lack even a single woman commissioner; statewide, women make up a mere 11 percent of county commissioners.

Rural women face particular challenges: geographic isolation from networks of support; a shortage of opportunities to climb the leadership ladder, and logistical challenges of campaigning in rural communities. Yet despite these obstacles, brave women have vied for positions of leadership on the Range, and their courage has inspired other women to take the leap into politics.

They include women like Liz Kuoppala of Eveleth and Nevada Littlewolf of Virginia, both of whom sought and won city council seats. Both are now the only women to serve their cities in this capacity and are leading a positive effort to bring women's parity to local government across northeastern Minnesota. Kuoppala, Littlewolf and others like them are not only pressing for women's voices to be included in politics; they are working to ensure that the interests of rural communities are heard in the halls of political power.

Why do women matter in politics? Because the core of what they bring to leadership -- a tendency toward greater inclusiveness, empathy, communication up and down hierarchies, focus on broader issues -- makes for a stronger government.

Prominent research groups, including American University and the Center for American Women and Politics, have spent decades noting the trend: Women offer new solutions to old problems and offer more diverse viewpoints. When men and women lead side by side, at both the local and national levels, the quality of our policies and our politics improves -- and everyone benefits.

The remarkable group of women that came together last weekend to learn the nuts and bolts of running for office embodied a full range of personal histories. One-third were Native American, and they ranged in age from 16 to 67. Roughly half earn less than $30,000 annually. Each had a vision for how to improve the quality of life for people on the Range.

What does it mean to have such diverse women leading in Minnesota's political arena? It means a better, more vibrant and robust government. It means we get one step closer to achieving a representational democracy, where all people are an integral and important part of the political process.

Minnesota's rural areas have a wealth of knowledgeable, passionate and effectual women who are just waiting to lead their communities -- and our nation. They are an untapped resource, and we need them.

Marie Wilson is president of the White House Project, which describes itself as a national, nonpartisan organization that works to advance women into leadership positions up to and including the presidency.