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Feb 12: Running Start: Young Women to Watch 

As a co-host of the event, WPI has a limited number of tickets available for distribution.  If you would like to attend, please email My-Lien Le as soon as possible. 

Feb 14: Galentine's Day Career Panel

SPA's Graduate Student Council's Second Galentine’s Day Panel brings together SPA alumnae to discuss their professional journeys, accomplishments, and career paths. The event is moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Come hear some amazing female alumnae speak and enjoy Valentine's day treats!

Feb 15: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Changed History

Before she was known as Notorious RBG, she was a young lawyer who became a pioneer for gender equality.

The film, “On the Basis of Sex” is the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the early days of her career when she won one of her numerous groundbreaking gender-discrimination cases in the Supreme Court.
6:15 PM Malsi Doyle & Michael Forman Theater, McKinley Building

Join us for a special screening and panel discussion about the impact of Justice Ginsberg’s lifelong work for women’s rights with:

Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director, Women & Politics Institute

Vicky Wilkins, Dean, AU School of Public Affairs

Beth Frank, Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, Washington College of Law

Register for the event here.
March 6 | 6:00pm Female Ambassadors to the U.S. To commemorate Women's History Month and International Women's Day, please save the date for a special conversation about women in politics around the world with several female ambassadors representing their countries in the United States.  Location: Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
April 10  | 6:30pm  Noted journalist, and best-selling author Evan Thomas will discuss his new book (to be published March 19th) about American's first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.  Reception and book signing to follow. Location: Washington College of Law, 4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Jan 17: E-PAC Launch Event

Betsy Fischer Martin joined other experts on a panel about the lack of Republican women serving in Congress at the launch event for a new group created by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).  The group, called E-PAC, is dedicated to recruiting GOP women candidates and helping those women candidates through political primaries.  WPI shared relevant findings of our "She Votes/She Leads" research related to Republican women who voted in the 2018 midterms.  WGBH/NPR story on the event.

Jan 17: She Votes. She Leads.

WPI was pleased to present the findings of our 2018 poll on women midterm voters, called She Votes/She Leads, to AU students and faculty.  The survey, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, surveyed 1200 midterm voters about women's political leadership and what mattered most to them at the ballot box. Senior vice president of BSG Katie Connolly presented the results and Betsy Fischer Martin moderated a conversation with Katie and the Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science and WPI founder, Dr. Karen O’Connor.

The panel highlighted key findings, including women voters’ dislike of President Trump’s tone and the optimism that women voters feel about the ability of the newly elected women representatives to make progress on issues that matter to the electorate.  Students asked the panelists questions and discussed the implications for the political landscape in 2020.    

See the report here.

Feb 1: Ripon Society & Franklin Center's Senior Staff Symposium on Leadership

Faculty from the School of Public Affairs provided their expertise to lead the training at the Ripon Society and Franklin Center’s Senior Congressional Staff Symposium on Leadership held at George Washington's Mt. Vernon. The bipartisan symposium covered topics including: navigating team building, becoming a mindful leader, and managing up in careers. 

The symposium concluded with a keynote conversation, moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, with Pulitzer Prize winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who discussed her new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times.   Dr. Goodwin explored the leadership lessons learned from the lives of the four presidents that she has written extensively about over her career – Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.  More info



WPI welcomes Shilpa Phadke, vice president of the Women's Initiative at the Center for American Progress, who is teaching "Women, Politics, and Public Policy" this semester. Phadke has multiple areas of focus, including women’s economic security; women’s health and rights; and women’s leadership. Read more about Phadke's experience here.

Learn more about the Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate Program.


Application deadline extended. The Drew Waverly Patterson Scholarship Fund provides an award to directly support the cost of graduate and/or law school application fees for American University students. Eligible students must have completed an academic course(s) at American University related to women and politics.

Apply by March 3, 2019.


Welcome to Julie Russell, WPI's new WeLead program manager. 

Julie has an M.S. in Agricultural Economics and B.A. in French, both from the University of Nebraska. Most recently, Julie worked for energy companies, educating state and federal legislators and regulators on the need for more energy infrastructure spending in the U.S. and Canada.  Prior to that, she worked for several non-profits in communications, development, event-planning, and financial planning. 

Russell also brings strategic thinking and marketing expertise to our team based on years as an analyst and consultant in alternative asset management for NY-based financial institutions as well as niche players.

WeLead Reader

Named after our nonpartisan WeLead leadership training program for young women, we created this curated weekend reading list for those interested in news and research about women in politics.  The email is delivered to inboxes on Saturday morning, so you can catch up on any news that you may have missed during your busy week.  If you haven't received it yet, please subscribe below.  You can also share it with interested family and friends.  Thanks for all the positive feedback so far.
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Thank you for your continued support to help us close the gender gap in political leadership.
About Us: 
The nonpartisan Women & Politics Institute at American University provides academic training to young women that encourages them to become involved in the political process and facilitates research by faculty and students that enhances our understanding of the challenges and opportunities women face in the political arena.

Our mailing address is:

Kerwin Hall, Room 109E 
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016

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