Women on a Mission

Women’s Resource Center looking to guide women to run for office.

By Elizabeth Adams
Staff Writer

Imagine working in agricultural fields with temperatures well over 100 degrees. Or having to choose between food for the week or keeping a roof over your head because you simply can’t afford both. What if you were pulled over and threatened because of the color of your skin? How about being told you’re not qualified for a job because you’re a woman.

All of these scenarios sound like they could be pulled out of a documentary on the civil rights movement. Instead, these are a few of the issues that some California State University, Dominguez Hills students recently said they were inspired to put an end to. However, many of them were unaware of where to begin.

That’s where the Women’s Resource Center and Running Start stepped in to help.

In late January, The Women’s Resource Center, in conjunction with the Running Start program, held an Elect Her workshop, created by the resource center’s director, Megan Tagle Adams.

Adams, who was named head of the WRC last year, said early in her time at CSUDH, she encountered a student who wanted more information on opportunities for women to get involved on campus. This conversation made her notice that women had been underrepresented in student government in recent years.

Having previously worked at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a school that offered support groups aimed at getting women involved in government, Adams said she wanted to get that same kind of network started at CSUDH. Adams teamed up with Associated Students Inc. to set up the inaugural Elect Her workshop, which provided tips on how to run for student government positions, as well as elected positions after college.

“I not only want to see women getting involved in leadership positions, but I also want to see them run for positions of power,” Adams said.

Adams contacted Running Start, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that trains and prepares young women for a career in politics.

Tasha Cole, the co-chair of Running Start’s board of directors, said the nonprofit was founded in the District of Columbia by women who felt the representation of females in elected office didn’t represent the female population. To counteract this, they felt the need to reach out to young people while they were still in high school and college.

The movement is supported by a diverse range of women and organizations, including the Los Angeles Community College district.

“While we don’t like to talk about identity politics, it really is important to see someone who looks like you [in office],” said Sydney Kamlager-Dove, president of the board of trustees for the LACC. “It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the representation and feeling like someone understands [your] story.”

The Elect Her workshop provided attendees with tips on how to run a campaign, how to begin networking, advice from a local female elected official and gave them a platform to discuss the issues that mattered to them most.

Mireya Rodriguez, a sociology major, who attended the workshop, said she felt comforted learning more women are taking steps for change but thinks there is always room for improvement, both on campus and in everyday life.

“The women that are stepping up have a lot of courage,” said Rodriguez. “But for there to be real change it has to become less of a trend.”