The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania is sponsoring a program called “GirlGov,” which is designed to encourage young women and girls to get involved in politics. The program will send 16 girls, ages 13 through 17, to the state capital to shadow a state legislator on March 8, International Women’s Day. Participants of Girl Gov will be able to learn firsthand the work that being a legislator entails, the goal being to encourage girls to become more engaged with the political process, and perhaps eventually, to pursue politics as a career.
This program is a much-needed one, as in 2009, only 24.3% of the 7,382 state legislators nationwide were women. This average is obviously dismal, but when examining Pennsylvania’s own percentage of women legislators, 24% seems downright progressive. According to Business and Professional Women PA [PDF], in 2009, Pennsylvania’s percentage of women state legislators was ranked 46th out of the nation’s fifty states. Only 14.6% of the State Senate and House were women, and the only states with lower percentages were Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Even worse, Pennsylvania has ranked no better than 43rd in the past 30 years.
If you or someone you know wants to apply, visit www.girlgov.org. However, act quickly – applications will not be accepted after Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 5 PM.