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on the radar: Women in Politics

Barbara LeeHarvard's Kennedy School Gets $1.5 M to Support Women in Politics

Barbara Lee, a philanthropist who donates largely to women’s issues and programs designed to support women in politics, has given $1.5 million to The Kennedy School of Government. The gift will endow special efforts to train women who wish to run for public office and will fund the Barbara Lee Women in U.S. Politics Training Program and Lecture Series.

Lee said she hopes the endowment will help combat the under-representation of women in U.S. politics. Her endowment will be part of a larger Harvard program called “From Harvard Square to the Oval Office,” that works to train women “to succeed in politics despite gender imbalances.” “A program like this” Lee told The Harvard Crimson, “is helping young women to be in a community where it is acceptable and positive to have ambitions”

Women hold 14 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate and 15.4 percent in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the Harvard program, and though some other countries set a number of seats aside for women, U.S. women face tough odds.

Sources: The Harvard Crimson, 3/24/06; The Harvard University Gazette, 3/23/06

For more on women in American politics, see these Ms. stories

In Eight Years, Practically No Progress For Women Policy-Makers
Women Voters Can’t Be Trusted, by Gloria Steinem, 1972
What the World Needs Now is More Fannie Lou Hamers by Donna Brazile \