Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Maya Blog #2
The past few weeks have been spent further narrowing down my topic and identifying resources to aid in my research process. For the Fellowship, I have decided to focus on improving pipelines to political leadership for minority women. The gender imbalance present in local politics, specifically when it comes to minority women, really stood out to me during my initial research process and I felt compelled to examine this issue further.
The numbers speak for themselves: of the roughly 5000 elected positions in the state of North Carolina, only 27% are held by women, and only 2.2% are held by women of color. My goals for the next month are to connect with local elected officials and community organizations that can give me insight into the political climate of NC, and potential expansions for the recommendations I currently have in mind.
For example, this past week I was able to speak to Representatives Grier Martin and Paul Stam regarding my research topic and potential avenues to pursue. I am hoping these initial connections will yield information about nonpartisan, achievable methods for policy implementation regarding this issue. One avenue I am currently exploring is the NCGA internship program, and potentially adapting that to better recruit minority women into it's program.
Additionally, I am in the process of connecting with local minority women who are either currently serving, in the campaign process, or have previously served in elected office. Through their personal accounts and lived experiences, I am hoping to gain more insight into the reality of the issue and ways to reduce barriers to entry for minority women. I am also working on establishing a connection with the organization Lillian's List to further understand the political process for women in politics.
I am excited about the direction my research is heading in, and so grateful for the incredible opportunities I've had thus far to connect with individuals in my community. The support I've received helps me feel empowered to begin, and hopefully to continue, a dialogue about this issue.