Press Releases

Jul 23, 2018

Media Briefing to Address Surge of Women Running for Office in 2018

WASHINGTON – Record numbers of women are running for office at the state, federal and local levels. At 11:00 am on July 25 at the Newseum, an esteemed panel of experts on elections, gender, and race will discuss what has led to this surge of women candidates and what impact having more women on the ballot will have on the election.

Maya Harris, co-chair of the Women’s Media Center and MSNBC contributor, Swanee Hunt, founder and co-chair of Political Parity, and Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum, will lead the briefing featuring:

  • Glynda Carr, co-founder, Higher Heights
  • Julie Conway, executive director, VIEW PAC
  • Mūthoni Wambu Kraal, vice president, national outreach and training, EMILYs List
  • Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO, Voto Latino
  • Rebecca Schuller, executive director, Winning for Women
  • Andrea Dew Steele, founder and president, Emerge America

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center of American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, will present the latest research on women candidates in the 2018 election cycle.

“Fair elections require a free press, and this year special attention must be paid to the record number of female candidates running for office,” said Cathy Trost, executive director of the Freedom Forum Institute. “We’re proud to host this briefing and to lead the conversation among journalists about how to fairly and accurately cover this historic year.”

Swanee Hunt, who has been working to support the election of women for decades, adds, “Political science now confirms what many have long surmised, that usually electing more women means better government. Who reaches across the aisle? Women. Who sponsors more legislation? Women. Who creates more civil discourse? Women. And here’s good news about the surge in women running this year: they win at least as often as men do. Fasten your seat belts. We may be witnessing a seismic shift.”

Research done by the Women’s Media Center on political reporting in the 2016 election showed that women’s voices – especially the voices of women of color – were often missing from the conversation. “The gender gap in media was on full display in political news coverage during the 2016 election, with women reporting just 34% of political stories from September to November 2016. Women are more than half of the population, and our voices and perspectives are essential to interpreting the election — especially this year as we witness the historically high numbers of women running for office,” said Women’s Media Center Co-Chair Maya Harris. “Unless women are equal partners in telling the story, and equal partners in sourcing and interpreting what and who is important to the story, the coverage of this election will be lacking. We will continue to monitor the representation of women’s voices and views in the analysis of the 2018 election and hope that this briefing goes some way to furthering that representation.”

The briefing is being hosted by the Freedom Forum Institute, Swanee Hunt Alternatives, and The Women’s Media Center.

Swanee Hunt’s foundation provokes change for good by advancing global security and social justice. In 2009, she established Political Parity, with co-chair Kerry Healey, to accelerate the energies of activists, researchers, and funders transforming the face of US politics. With rare bi-partisanship, organizations advancing women’s high-level leadership share insights and support in this nonpartisan work.

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) is an inclusive and feminist organization that works to raise the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media to ensure that their stories get told and their voices are heard. We do this by researching and monitoring media; creating and modeling original online, print and podcast content; training women and girls to be effective in media; and promoting women experts in all fields.  For more information, visit or follow @WomensMediaCntr on Twitter.

About the Freedom Forum Institute

The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.

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Kate McCarthy

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