Using modern approaches to recruit, connect, and encourage women to run for elected office.
Intro to the Issue
Women make up 51% of the US population but are underrepresented at all levels of elected office. Western democracies have increased the proportion of women in elected office, but there are still fewer women elected in the US compared to other established democracies globally. In 1997, the US was ranked 41st in government female representation, however fell to 101st in 2017. Despite an equal likelihood to win elections, women in the US do not run for office as often as men.
Current trends indicate it will take 90 years to reach gender parity in the US if nothing is done.
How can we empower and support women to have a greater representation and influence in politics across the globe?
What is Project 19th?
Project 19th was started in 2020 on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment – which supported a worldwide movement towards women’s suffrage. The project objective is to increase the number of women in elected office ultimately moving the needle on political attention and engagement to improve the economic empowerment for girls and women.
Academia + Technology Innovation
To solve the problem of underrepresentation, we created a strategic, collaborative partnership with two powerhouses in government and the political ecosystem — The University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (USC Price) in Sacramento, CA and The Cambria Solutions’ Kappy Innovation Lab.
USC Price has been a leader in public service research and education for over 90 years and is ranked #3 in the nation among public affairs schools. USC Price is well known for its applied research on political engagement, race and gender intersectionality, and marginalized community health and well-being. They are experienced in program evaluation, community engagement, and training.
USC Price has partnered with The Cambria Solutions’ Kappy Innovation Lab since 2020 to study this issue, utilizing innovative technology to help address gender parity in politics. Cambria is optimizing and modernizing the political digital ecosystem.
Project Leadership Team
- Lois Takahashi, Flournoy Professor of State Government at USC Price in Sacramento
- Robert Rodriguez, CEO, Cambria Solutions
- Blake Jeter, Executive Sponsor, Kappy Innovation Lab
Takahashi has worked with her partners for 30 years on community-based projects to address housing, work, and violence for marginalized women and adolescents. Rodriguez, recently named “most admired CEO” by the Sacramento Business Journal, founded Cambria Solutions, Inc., which boasts approximately 50% women and 45% racial/ethnic minority staff. Jeter has worked in technology consulting for a decade and is passionate about the intersection of technology and the public good.
Early Research and Insights
The Project 19th team conducted academic research, data collection, interviewed subject matter experts, and data synthesis. We found that when women do run for office, they are equally as likely to win their campaign. However, women do not tend to run for office in equal numbers to men.
Insights as to Why
- Women are not encouraged to choose politics as a career path
- Men are 15% more likely to receive a suggestion from a party leader, elected official or nonelected political activist to run for office
- Political gatekeepers tend to indirectly favor men by tapping into their own male-dominated networks
- 32% of female candidates said someone tried discouraging them vs. 25% of men
- Certain personality traits can correspond with political success
One of the personality traits that corresponded well to a successful pursuit of elected office was women who were/are competitive athletes due to their competitive nature, discipline, and strong sense of motivation. This group will be a focus of our ongoing research.
The Conceptual Approach
Project 19th is focusing on optimizing and modernizing the political digital ecosystem for women. Through Artificial Intelligence (AI), social media data pools, interaction behavioral analysis, and interactive assessments Project 19th plans to identify, assess, connect, and follow/support female political candidate prospects. Utilizing digital ecosystem tools to deliver personalized resources, encouragement, networking connections, and mentorship, we will guide and follow women as they ascend the political landscape.
Political Engagement Assessment
One entry point into Project 19th’s digital ecosystem is the Political Engagement Assessment. This social media-driven assessment engages with women in a quick, fun, interactive way that can be taken anywhere, anytime, conveniently. The assessment results provide resources and information based on their responses that help educate and empower their next step actions on their journey through politics.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and logic from the assessment will provide personalized resources to spark activity, awareness, and education. Breaking down the knowledge and next step barriers of entry into politics and tipping the scales of female representation.
Future Thinking and Global Reach
We are in the process of building prototypes and scaling our model for the future. We are starting with athletes (18-24) as a provable model that will evolve the intelligence, data models, and experience. This will help scale Project 19th to identify, define, and target other personas for prospective female political involvement. While we are starting with the US, our aspirations are to reach and impact women’s political influence across the globe.
How do we Measure Success?
- Increasing the number of interactive engagements with resources
- Identifying traits and personas that have the most success in politics
- Increase the awareness of women’s political representation.
- Intelligently connecting prospects, resources, and mentors together
- Increase women’s presence in politics
How to Get InvolvedContact Us
Download Background Research Report