(Picture drawn by Abigail Dabu, Age 14)
“…I would like to run for some political office when I grow up. Why? Because there are so many changes that need to be made regarding important issues that are not happening. And we need more women making decisions in our country!”
Meera Kota, Age 15
“This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.”
President Obama’s Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2011
Building on President Obama’s challenge at the UN General Assembly in September 2011, the United States will be working with various country partners in a new international effort – the Equal Futures Partnership – to break down barriers to women’s political participation and economic empowerment. The goal of the Equal Futures Partnershipis for each member country to expand opportunities for women and girls to fully participate in public life and to drive more inclusive economic growth.
As part of these efforts, the White House Council on Women and Girls is launching an app challenge: to create an app that promotes civic education and/or inspires girls to serve as leaders in our democracy. Notable apps will be highlighted on the White House website and in the White House blog.
Apps should accomplish one or more of the following:
1. Educate girls about the gender gap in public leadership using existing, publicly-available information (e.g. properly attributed data from websites such as that of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, etc.):
- Example: Expose girls to statistics on the number of women in elected office, from mayors, to state legislators, to governors, to the U.S. Congress.
- Example: Introduce girls to data about how women public leaders are represented in the media.
2. Connect girls with role models by highlighting women in public leadership positions
- Example: Provide access to biographies of, and articles on, inspiring women in public leadership positions, particularly those that discuss the path they took to get where they are today. This information can be found on websites like womenincongress.house.gov
3. Teach girls about what it means to be an effective leader
- Example: Provide access to daily tips and information on what it takes to be an effective leader.
4. Empower girls to engage with their elected representatives
- Example: Inform girls about issues at the local, state and federal level that affect them through a curated set of tweets from news sources.
- Example: Help girls contact their representatives and make their voices heard on the issues they care about and rally other girls to do the same.
5. Prepare girls to serve in government and run for office themselves
- Example: Provide information about what it takes to run a successful campaign (as either a campaign staffer or a candidate), including running for office at school.
- Example: Teach girls about what elected officials – from city council members all the way to President – actually do every day. How do legislators craft our laws? How do mayors and governors get things done? How does the President of the United States spend each day?
- Example: Inform girls about the various senior staff and appointed jobs available in government, and the qualifications, education, and preparation they would need to pursue those jobs.
What we’re looking for:
- Apps should be creative and innovative, should offer easy access to data and resources that meet the stated goals of this challenge, and should effectively engage the target audience of girls and young women.
- Apps could take many different forms, such as interactive and informative games or data visualization.
- Apps may be designed for internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.
- Apps should meet or exceed Section 508 and usability standards.
The following individuals will be serving as judges for this challenge:
- Jack Dorsey, Creator and Co-Founder, Twitter; Founder and CEO, Square
- Jocelyn Goldfein, Director of Engineering, Facebook
- Andrew Shue, Co-Founder, dosomething.org; Co-Founder, cafemom.com
- Geena Davis, Academy Award-Winning Actor; Founder, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
- Anna Maria Chavez, CEO, Girl Scouts
- Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Girls Inc.
- Tiffany Dufu, President, the White House Project
- Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
- Senator Lisa Murkowski
- Representative Barbara Ballard
- Mayor Elizabeth Kautz
IDEAS AND GUIDANCE FROM GIRLS THEMSELVES...
“I’d be very interested in learning about the entire process of running for office; from start to finish. Learning about the basic things like knowing the qualifications and paperwork involved in order to run for office. Learning about how much money is spent when running for office would be interesting too.
I think it would be pretty interesting to learn about being a leader. I, for one, could really use some tips. I’d like to learn about how to be confident and to be able to speak eloquently. Also, what does it take to be a great leader? What characteristics does a good leader have and shouldn’t have?”
Jennifer Nguyen, Age 17
(Picture drawn by Jennifer Nguyen, Age 17)
“I would like to learn techniques about delegating, organizing groups, public speaking, and about how to better interact with people.”
Katriona Guthrie-Honea, Age 16
“I would like to learn about the different ways that candidates use to persuade their voters. I would also like to know what are successful strategies for running for office and getting along well with the people. I would also like to learn how you apply for a position in office.
I would like to learn more ways to give memorable speeches that are both entertaining and informative…”
Emily Kimura, Age 14
“I would like to know more about the propositions and laws, to learn in detail what these propositions or laws do and how it benefits the people but can also be a hindrance…
I would like to learn how to be a better speaker because you can’t be a good leader if you can’t communicate your thoughts and ideas efficiently.”
Diane Delfin, Age 14
(Picture drawn by Diane Delfin, Age 14)