JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -College women from around the state are learning how to get involved in the world of politics. The Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership program is a partnership between the Mississippi University for Women and the Stennis Center.
The young women participating could be part of Mississippi’s future leadership. And as it stands, women are in the minority when it comes to representation at the State Capitol. Although numbers could change after the upcoming election, there are currently 15 female House members and 9 female Senators serving in the Mississippi Legislature. That amounts to less than 14 percent of the full legislature.
“It scares me and it startles me because this is an important issue because if a generation doesn’t step up and take control of the narrative, we’re going to see that number continue to decrease,” said University of Mississippi student Annabella Sills.
The NEW Leadership allows the young women to network, learn and be empowered to seek a career in the political arena.
“What you can see is something you can do," noted Sen. Sally Doty. "So, if you see a woman who’s in that office you think...oh, I can do that.”
The only woman currently holding a statewide elected position, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, spoke with the group Thursday.
“We talk about all these positions that have been filled but we need to elaborate more so on those that have yet to be filled," said recent Coahoma Community College graduate Yasmine Harper. "We’re just scratching the surface right now.”
But they’re hoping to see those numbers boosted and most say that’s why they wanted to be part of the program.
“I saw a need for women to rise up in Mississippi and not only in Mississippi but in the United States of America” explained Millsaps student Areial Thomas.
“When I looked into my community, I didn’t see anybody like me," added MUW student Lydia Holland. "So, I said I should become that leader so that I can become that example for the young ladies behind me.”
To learn more about the N.E.W. Leadership Mississippi program, click HERE.