There aren’t enough women running for office. Full stop.

The bruising campaigns filled with drama and mud slinging. The whole “who would you rather have a beer with;” politicos and voters alike have helped make political campaigns a “man’s sport.”

If you are a career woman with two kids and a great life, why would you dive in only to have your past, family and every thought and move scrutinized?

That’s a different calculus for many women than it is for men. This is a generalization but women like to know their path to success ahead of time more concretely than many men who tend to dive in first.

So how do we convince women it’s worth it to run for public office? Education and preparation.

These are some of the core issues to know before you dive in as a candidate:

  • Developing a message – how to market to voters and tell a story
  • Tips for understanding how the media works and how to engage with reporters to get positive coverage
  • How to budget and fundraise to fund a campaign
  • How to stay compliant with the law and campaign regulatory bodies
  • Developing a marketing plan to advertise to voters and here they consume their information
  • What does it take to turn voters out to the polls

All of these topics are crucial to running a good campaign and intimidating as heck when someone is thinking about running.

That’s where The Campaign School at Yale comes in. We run an intensive 5-day program where we bring in experts from around the country to teach on these subjects. But it’s also an immersive experience from creating a campaign message to media training and preparing a campaign plan.

The school’s mission is to help prepare and encourage more women to run for political office, something we should all be striving for in our Democracy.

I sit on the board and help run curriculum for the 5-day school. It’s been a wonderful experience and I encourage any of you looking to run for office to read up on Yale and reach out.

-Kirsten Kukowski