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ABQ Camp Inspires Girls in Politics

ABQ Camp Inspires Girls in Politics

Women Make Up 30.4 Percent of State Legislature

This year, only 104 women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 19.4 percent of the 535 members. And only 38 are women of color: 18 African Americans, 10 Latinas, 9 Asian American/Pacific Islanders and one multiracial.

In the United States Senate, there are 21 women serving, and 83 women, or 19.1 percent, in the United States House of Representatives. Five women delegates also represent American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the U.S. House of Representatives, according the Center for American Women and Politics.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, approximately 1,830 women serve in the 50 state legislatures, making up only 24.8 percent of all state legislators nationwide. This has remained unchanged since 2015, when it increased by 0.2 percent.

And in New Mexico, where there are 34 women legislators out of 112 seats, women make up just 30.4 percent of the state legislature. With these figures in mind it’s no wonder the Camp Congress for Girls, held in Albuquerque last week, received little press.

Launched in 2011, the Girls in Politics Initiative is an international civic educational program that provides political leadership for girls ages 8 to 15 in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. This political leadership program introduces girls to the structure of their country’s political system. They learn politics, policy, the work of the U.S. Congress, parliamentary governments and the work of the United Nations.

During the program each girl chooses to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate or for the presidency. They also create their own campaign, choose a platform, create a campaign slogan, a campaign finance plan, campaign marketing materials and a political ad for television.

All campers will register to vote and then vote in an election, as well as receive a Certificate of Completion for participation. They will also meet an elected official or political consultant.

Once elected to Congress and sworn in, the newly installed members of Congress will learn how to introduce a bill, debate the merits of the bill, lobby fellow legislators, collaborate with the Executive branch and finally, vote on the proposed bill. Camp will culminate with a ceremonial signing of the bill by the Ms. President.

Visit their website to learn more about their organization and the other programs they offer.

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Moriah Carty is an Albuquerque local with a heavy sense of wanderlust.