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Gender Campaign

Local group urges women to run for political office.

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When it comes to women elected to all local, state, and federal offices, Tennessee ranks 49th in the nation. Even when comparing female-held state legislative positions, Tennessee comes in 39th.

Those startling statistics — combined with last year's problems at the Rape Crisis Center — prompted the Memphis Area Women's Council to urge local women to run for office.

Last week, the group held its first Run Women Run event with Tennessee representative Karen Camper, Germantown mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, Tennessee Supreme Court chief justice Janice Holder, and attorney Ruby Wharton.

According to Deborah Clubb, executive director of the local women's council, Run Women Run was held to "empower women with enough knowledge to know it's not impossible" to be elected to political office.

In light of problems at the rape crisis center, which was eventually transferred from Memphis city government to being overseen by Shelby County, members of the Memphis Area Women's Council decided that the community's interests would be better served if more women were involved in politics on every level.

During the non-partisan event, attendees heard advice on running for and serving in a political office. They discussed campaign strategies, financial tips, and the importance of honor and integrity in politics.

"I want [women] to be strong enough to try," Clubb said. "I want these women to leave [the seminar] with encouragement and a willingness to serve."

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