A daylong session Saturday aimed at inspiring more women to run for office and get involved in politics will feature keynote speaker Katie Groke-Ellis, regional director of a nonprofit group aiming to promote women to leadership positions ultimately to the Oval Office.
The event at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College, 9750 S. 300 West, Sandy, is free and open to the public. It kicks off at 9 a.m., with lunch and training sessions throughout the day.
Groke-Ellis, of the nonpartisan White House Project, will talk about "Why Women Don't Run for Office" a speech to be immediately followed by a panel of Utah women who did.
That discussion will feature former Rep. Karen Shepherd, current Saratoga Springs Mayor and congressional candidate Mia Love, former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini and former state lawmakers Jackie Biskupski and Sheryl Allen.
"The proportion of women in Utah's Legislature is just 17 percent. Although half of Utahns are women, Utah has no women in Congress nor in statewide elected office. The new initiative called Real Women Run is intended to empower women to participate fully in public life and leadership through elected political office at all levels, political appointments, working on campaigns, or simply learning more about our political system," said a news release about the event.
The YWCA of Salt Lake City and Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah are organizing the public leadership training boot camp. The effort is backed by the Utah League of Women Voters.
The Real Women Run coalition hopes to improve Utah's fairly lackluster track record of gender equity in politics.
Currently, the state Legislature has its first female House speaker Rep. Becky Lockhart, R-Provo but has fewer women than any year going back to 1995.
Utah boasts one woman governor in its history: Olene Walker. Elected as lieutenant governor, she succeeded Gov. Mike Leavitt when he left office early, but was rejected by Republican delegates at the 2004 GOP Convention.
Enid Mickelsen, previously Enid Greene Waldholtz, was the last woman elected to represent Utah in Congress. She served just one term, from 1995-1997.
View a full agenda of Saturday's training session at http://bit.ly/AhDbum