Mississippi ranks 46 in the nation for women in public office. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports efforts are underway to prepare more women to pursue political office.
According to Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics, eight women have won statewide office since 1960 in Mississippi. Of the 174 members of the state legislature, 26 are women. Women make up more than 50 percent of eligible voters in the state. But only 14.9 percent of elected officials are women. Jennifer Gregory is with the Stennis Center for Public Service, a non-partisan organization. She says women are more successful when they run for public office than men, but they don't run as often.
"We find that they certainly possess the skills and qualifications to run a solid campaign but they lack the confidence," said Gregory.
Gregory says they're hosting a one day training session in August, called "Ready to Run Mississippi," where women learn what it takes to operate a campaign.
"Generally speaking women typically don't fundraise as well as men. But what women are good at is networking," said Gregory.
Jeanne Luckey is the Republican National Committeewoman for Mississippi. She's helping spearhead an initiative to get more women to run for office as well. Luckey says they're holding a three-day training program next month too.
"We are going to cover topics such as grassroots campaigning, organizing your campaign, media, fundraising. All the tools that women need to either run for office or get involved in politics.
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch who launched the Republican initiative says women bring new perspectives to policy-making, deepening the debates.