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'Vote Run Lead' Event Empowers Women To Run For Office

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On the heels of an outpouring of sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers across the country, hundreds of women gathered in Minneapolis this weekend for an event to inspire change.

The non-profit Vote Run Lead held a three-day conference at a downtown hotel. They want to teach women from dozens of states how to run for office at the local, state and federal levels.

WCCO's Nina Moini talked with leaders there about why they say it's more important than ever to see more women in office.

The three-day conference encourages women of many backgrounds to run for office.

"We are a training powerhouse for women who want to run as they are," Vote Run Lead CEO Erin Vilardi said.

CEO and founder of Vote Run Lead Erin Vilardi rounded up some 200 women from 33 states across the country. Giving them the tools to learn about what it takes to run for office, from communications to fundraising.

"There's a real opportunity with the last election last Tuesday and next three years to see a permanent increase in number of women in public office," Vilardi said.

Vilardi points out women's representation has been stuck at about 20 percent for two decades. Making it more difficult for women in leadership roles to be viewed as equal to men.

"Not enough of us are in power," Vilardi said.

The conference is made up of 60 percent women of color, and a third of participants came from rural areas of the country.

"About half of us are under 35 and about half moms so it's a really diverse cross section of American women," Vilardi said.

A time to lead, and press for progress in a long process for equality.

"A lot of enthusiasm, a lot of women declaring their public office maybe came into the conference, a third who knew what they are running for now. We are close to two-thirds who know what they're running for," Vilardi said.

The organizer of the event says anyone who could not attend the conference can look up the materials from the workshops.

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