Women prepare for 2020

Katie Ingle

Record breaking years for women in politics may not be over.

Public offices across the nation have seen a wave of women elected in the past year, with a record-setting 36 new women being elected to the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms.

Women in politics have never been so prominent, but leaders from the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics say they are not satisfied.

Kelly Winfrey, the interim director of the center, said this is just the beginning of the rise. Winfrey described 2018 as a remarkable year for women in politics, but she also said she doesn’t believe her work is over.

Winfrey said her main focus now is enforcing encouragement on women to run for positions.

“When women run, women can win as much as men do,” Winfrey said. “In some of our recent elections in Iowa, women have won in a higher rate than men have.”

In the 2018 midterms, Iowa elected Rep. Cindy Axne and Rep. Abby Finkenauer, replacing David Young and Rod Blum, respectively. Iowa now has two female and two male representatives in the House, rather than four male representatives.

The Catt center hosted a Ready to Run Iowa workshop Friday, where attendees learned about important parts of campaigning such as making the decision to run, networking and building a campaign plan.

Courtney Knupp, an Iowa State alumnus now living in Washington D.C., attended the event hoping to learn more and women’s roles in politics. When asked what she would like to see changed in the coming years for women in politics, Knupp said she wishes for qualified candidates, regardless of their gender.

Members of the Catt center said they believe that the real problem with the lack of women’s roles in politics isn’t entirely sexism. Women need to apply in order to gain positions within government.

From community school boards to the presidency, Winfrey said there is a lack of appliance from women nationwide. She said this could be due to a lack of encouragement.

”Research shows that women need to be asked a minimum of three times before they will really consider running – even more before they will do it,” Winfrey said.

One study from Politico, American University and Loyola Marymount University found women are discouraged from running for office because of a lack of recruitment efforts and confidence in their abilities.

According to the study, only 57 percent of women with relevant experience thought they were qualified or very qualified to run, compared to 73 percent of men.