Meet the Future of Women in Politics
We spoke to five women working with She Should Run, a nonprofit that helps women who are curious about running for office.
Erin Loos Cutraro, Founder and CEO of She Should Run, Washington, D.C.
It’s a fair question. The answer is, I might see that path for myself in the future, perhaps in a local office, but for right now, I think She Should Run is the lever I can pull that’s going to make the biggest difference.
I was primarily raised by a single mom in St. Louis, Missouri, and I think what shaped my eventual connection to women candidates was seeing women get things done. My mom’s philosophy was, ‘Something’s in our way? Let’s figure out how to break through it or go around it.’ I was naturally attracted to people like that in my professional life, too—people who were impatient with dysfunction.
What ultimately pushed me to start She Should Run was frustration. I’d been working in politics for years, primarily on the front lines with candidates who were trying to prove their viability to the big, institutional players, and I’d seen a lot of women at the table for all the right reasons but without a traditional boy’s club network. As a result, growth in women’s representation wasn’t happening fast enough.
I thought, ‘Okay, how can we accelerate this? I know what we’re doing on a high level, but what about all of those other women at the bottom of the pipeline who are not even thinking about running or who think it’s just not a possibility for them?’ I pictured it like investing—maybe we needed to diversify our portfolio of potential candidates instead of putting all our eggs in a few baskets. From there, we came up with the concept of Ask a Woman to Run, which remains one of our biggest programs, and built the foundation for She Should Run.
As much as I want to tell women who are exploring political office that it’s a level playing field, I know we’re not there yet. But what I can tell them is that they’re not alone, and I think that’s the greatest value of She Should Run: our community. We can say, ‘Those feelings that you’re having about being held to a double standard, and being attacked by people, and how unfair it is—you’re not crazy, and we’re here for you to lean on.’