BY: Piper O’Keefe, NWPC Development Intern
In this post, Piper reflects on her experience interning for the National Women’s Political Caucus for the Summer of 2015.
As I was searching for internships for this summer, I wanted to find a way to channel my passion for women in politics. At Gettysburg College, I am a Political Science and Globalization Studies double major and German minor, so I am especially interested in the role that women play in politics throughout the world. Although there are many ways in which the United States is a leader when it comes to human rights, only about 20% of the House of Representatives is female, meaning it ranks 72nd in the world for the percentage of women representatives in national lower houses. We can and should elect more women than this!
I was incredibly excited when I discovered the internships offered through the National Women’s Political Caucus because NWPC is an organization that truly reflects my belief that more pro-choice women from both parties need to be elected to all levels of government. Being a Development Intern with NWPC for the summer has meant that I get to spend the summer in Washington, DC (which is great in itself!) and has given me innumerable opportunities. I have been able to work both in and out of the office furthering women’s equality, and I have learned more than I ever could in a classroom. From meeting with women leaders from across the nation and world to helping to plan and run a major convention, my internship has been packed with more amazing experiences than can even be described.
One of the exciting opportunities I had early this summer was meeting with a delegation of women political leaders from Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine. We primarily talked with them about what political participation is like for women in the United States and their respective countries. Interestingly, the women shared that in most of their countries there really is no abortion debate in politics- almost everyone is simply pro-choice. They were shocked and confused that the issue of abortion is still a topic of political debate in the US. Until that meeting, the only experience I had with women in politics internationally was comparing statistics; I really enjoyed getting to personalize the facts by meeting these women and hearing what their involvement in politics in other countries has been like.
The NWPC’s 22nd Biennial Convention took place in Washington, DC this July and the theme for the weekend was 50/50 by 2020: Marching Towards Parity. NWPC members from around the nation came together for three days to elect new national officers and attend panels, events, and workshops filled with incredible speakers. As an intern, I helped to plan the convention beforehand and then actually run it. It was incredibly rewarding to see events that we spent months preparing for unfold successfully before my eyes. The Good Guys Gala, for example, was a seated dinner where we honored four men who are committed to helping women reach equality- Former NWPC Political Director Nick Demeter; the late Dr. Howard Lessner; Baltimore City Councilman, Nick Mosby; and Missouri State Representative Stephen Webber. The Keynote Speaker for the event was Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Working from the beginning of the summer to help to get nominations for these awards, contact the honorees, put together their bios, order the awards, and create the event program made hearing their speeches and meeting them an even better experience than it would have otherwise been.
Interning with NWPC has been great for so many reasons- instead of just learning about women in politics, I have met and helped support women in politics; instead of just attending a convention, I have helped to plan and run a convention; and so much more. It has been a pretty incredible summer, to say the least!
To apply for a Fall 2015 internship with NWPC, click here: http://www.nwpc.org/intern