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Idaho Women’s Leadership Program Now Accepting Applications

From Boise to Bangladesh and all points in between, March 8 marks a global celebration of social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day began over 100 years ago when women from more than 17 countries unanimously approved the concept of an annual day to press for their demands. The first celebration, in 1911, had more than 1 million men and women join the cause to end gender discrimination.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Idaho National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership program application period opens March 8.

Photo of members of the 2017 program with an Idaho State Representative.
Members of the 2017 NEW Leadership Idaho Program with Idaho Rep. Christy Perry. From left to right: Hannah Keinert, Lewis Clark State College; Mary Alice Taylor, University of Idaho; Kyley Sweet, Idaho State University; Rep. Christy Perry; April Baylon-Mendoza, Boise State University; Dona Ochoa, Boise State University.

The statewide program, administered and sponsored by Boise State’s School of Public Service, is a weeklong leadership program designed to demystify politics and encourage women in all disciplines to become more involved in politics, and public service more broadly. Any undergraduate student identifying as female is eligible to apply. The competitive program accepts no more than 30 students from throughout Idaho each year. The 2018 program will take place May 20-26.

Lori Hausegger, political science chair in the School of Public Service, noted one reason women are underrepresented in politics in the United States.

“Experiments have been done where groups are formed and a volunteer is asked to lead the group. Women often step forward in these situations but when that same group is asked to elect a leader, the women sit down. Many suggest they don’t feel qualified enough, regardless of their actual qualifications,” said Hausegger. “Studies suggest political socialization and this view of being less qualified play a large part in the underrepresentation of women in politics. Studies also suggest that the best way to get more women to run is to ask – and ask more than once. So NEW Leadership Idaho is asking young women every year to step up and lead – we are making the first ‘ask’”.

Professors are encouraged to share this information with students who they believe show leadership potential. The recommendation of professors plays a key role when determining which students are accepted.