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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Elect Her workshop encourages women to excel on campus

Between 1789 and 1981, there was never a female on the Supreme Court, and there’s still only four to date. Likewise, in the 114th congress, only 104 of 535 members are female.

Low female participation in politics sparked Women For Women to head the sixth annual Elect Her Conference from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14 in the Explorer rooms in the University Center.

Elect Her: Campus Women Win Conference is a workshop to boost female morale and confidence about running for student government and a political office sometime in their future.

The program is sponsored by NMU’s faculty group the Gender Working Group, Women for Women and a collaborative effort between the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start, an organization that introduces young women to politics.

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Ruth Watry, a professor in the political science department, said events like this, among other campus involvement, are important to success after graduation.

“I think we give great opportunities for all of our students,” Watry said. “We’re moving in the right direction. The more involved students are on campus, the more they will be after school.”

Sophomore criminal justice and international studies major Tiffani Haught is one of the members on the organization committee for this years conference. Haught said statistics of current political positions held by females, underrepresentation of women in office and the lack of encouragement for women running for office will be discussed.

“It will be educational for both men and women,” Haught said. “A big part of women not being in office isn’t an outright identifiable thing, just a system of men having always been in power. There are specific roles men and women take and you have to talk about the different roles and the underrepresentation. We need to learn more about it. “

Katy Meade, junior  biology and environmental studies and sustainability major, also helped organize the event. She said it’s important for men to be aware of the issues too so they can be part of the solution.

“It’s about the empowerment and equality of women,” Meade said. “It’s a two-way street for women’s perception of themselves and for men’s perception of women also. It’s hard when men hold women down or the woman isn’t seen as capable as them.”

In addition to attending the event, Meade said she also encourages males to join Women For Women. She said the group is not just about women empowerment but community involvement.

Women For Women collaborates with many other groups on campus to host events including partnering with the Multicultural Education and Resource Center during black history month and LGBTQ clubs for self-acceptance week, which will happen in the next few weeks.

Watry teaches both political science and gender-related classes. She helped organize the first Elect Her conference held by NMU. She has not been active in recent years but still supports the idea of promoting women in power starting with student government.

“I always let my students know about it. I love the idea,” Watry said. “The number one predictor of whether a woman will go into elective politics is if she was in student government.”.

Sophomore psychology behavior analysis major Autumn Palmer said the workshop would consist of a mock campaign and elevator speech.

In addition, several guest speakers will be in attendance along side the facilitator appointed by the sponsors, Rebecca Thompson, an NMU alumnus and first African-American female president of ASNMU.

Thompson, a Detroit native, started as a legislative director for the United States Student Association advocating student rights to affordable and accessible college in Washington D.C. after graduation. Now, she is the senior director of engagement for Michigan’s southeastern branch of United Way .

Guest speakers include Marquette County Probate Judge Cheryl Hill, NMU News Director Kristi Evans, ASNMU President Katerina Klawes and ASNMU Vice President Katelyn Liubakka will be speaking as well.

Klawes said that she went to the conference last year and it heavily influenced her decision to run for ASNMU president.

“I was fortunate to have been featured by the American Association of University Women for my experience in Elect Her and how it impacted my presidency,” Klawes said. “I highly recommend the Elect Her Conference to anyone interested in female leadership opportunities and how to foster and support female leaders.”

Watry said she loves the passion of political science students and their motivation to join clubs such as College Republicans, College Democrats, Student Law Forum, Model United Nations and classes like campaign practicum where students assist local parties during elections.

“A few years back, we had a senate race going on and I was driving down McClellan,” Watry said. “On one side of the street I saw three of my female students, who I knew were working for the Republican candidate, and on the other side, I saw three other female students I knew were working for the Democrats. It was awesome.”

Registration for the conference is located on Student Leader Fellowship Program’s website under skill builders.

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