Buono Announces ‘Young Women’s Leadership Program’

EDISON – On Friday, August 6th, Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) will announce the beginning of the “Young Women’s Leadership Program,” a nonpartisan internship seminar that will engage high school junior and senior girls in the political process and will encourage them to one day run for office.

Applicants from area school districts submitted an application and essay at the end of May. Nine girls were selected to participate in the Fall 2010 program, and eight girls were selected for the Spring 2011 program. The program orientation is scheduled to be held on Friday at the Eagleton Institute of Politics where the participants will learn about women’s movements in the United States and throughout the world.

“While we have made historical steps in increasing the number of women in elected office, there is still a long road ahead,” Buono said. “To date, we have had only one woman elected to serve as the Governor of New Jersey, and only five women in the history of our state have served in our Congressional delegation. And we have yet to see a women elected to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate. That needs to change.”

The goal of the program is to encourage young women to become involved in government and politics by giving them an up-close look at what it’s like to be state legislator in New Jersey. Participants will attend a series of events, including a committee hearing and voting session in Trenton.

“For many women, the prospect of running for office seems like an overwhelming and often intimidating venture,” said Buono. “My goal is to have these young women graduate from this program thinking, ‘I can do this.’”

The Fall 2010 program will run from August until December, and the Spring program will begin in January. Buono indicated that the program would likely expand to every municipality in the 18th District in the following year.