About 300 students, alumni and other members of the AU community will be running or walking in a 5K “Race to Representation” to raise awareness about the lack of female representation in American government on Nov. 5.
AU’s Women and Politics Institute (WPI) will be organizing the event with aid from more than 20 sponsors, including Student Government, Chef Geoff’s, Zipcar and Panera.
The goal of “Race to Representation” is to urge the D.C. community toward greater involvement in making government more representative, according to WPI director and School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Jennifer Lawless.
“Women are not going to automatically start holding positions of power,” Lawless said.
Lawless is the co-author of the book “It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office.”
Lawless said the 1980s saw a slight increase in females running for office, followed by a dramatic increase in the number of female candidates in the 1990s. However, there has been a “plateau” in the number of female candidates in the last few elections, according to Lawless.
The race and “all [WPI] events are about women in politics” due to the serious “under-representation” of women in government, Lawless said.
An additional 100 participants are expected to register the day of the race, according to WPI’s Program Assistant, Erica Best.
Registration is at 7 a.m. on the AU Main Quad and the race begins at 8 a.m. Registration fees before the day of the race are $20 for students and $30 for the general public; on the day of the race, those fees rise to $25 for students and $35 for the public.
The “Race to Representation” will begin in front of Battelle-Thompkins Memorial Building, loop around the Quad, North Side and the athletic fields and finish back at the Main Quad.
Best said it is an accredited race so runners can use this time to qualify for future races.
SG’s role in the race
SG will be advertising and recruiting for the “Race to Representation” as a co-sponsor and form a team for the race.
“It is important that everyone be involved in politics,” Student Government President Tim McBride said. “Our representative bodies should represent us in every way, including demographically.”
A gender disparity in government applies to the SG, an issue McBride hopes to solve.
“We are making progress,” he said.
McBride said SG recruited women, among other demographics, to participate in the race and to become more involved in SG overall.
“A lot of it is a one-on-one effort — ensuring that as individual representatives of the SG, we are branching out in terms of who we are talking to about getting involved,” McBride said.