The League of Woman Voters of the Hamptons is organizing an event for high school junior and senior girls to explore public service as a career and to develop leadership and networking skills.
The event, which will take place in May, is labeled “running and winning,” and is designed to give approximately 60 young women from seven East End high schools an opportunity to interview women who hold public office.
Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and fellow female board members Sally Pope and Anna Throne-Holst have already confirmed their attendance, according to the League of Women Voter’s executive vice president and chair of the education committee, Judi Roth.
“I think it’s very exciting,” said Laura Nolan, mayor of North Haven on Tuesday. Nolan announced at this week’s village board meeting that she will be attending the event and added that she feels it will be a great experience for the high school girls.
The six to eight female students from each high school from Westhampton to East Hampton will be selected by their school principals to participate in the workshop.
The girls will meet on May 21 at the Southampton Cultural Center on Pond Lane in Southampton to interview some 30 female elected officials and will then be asked to design a slogan and write and deliver a meaningful campaign speech on an issue which the League of Woman Voters will suggest.
The room will be divided up into groups of four or five students who will interview each public figure. As the legislators move from table to table, the students will ask questions, which the league will provide. According to Roth, the students will find out what challenges and rewards come from running for office and how the women raised money for their campaigns. Roth said the students could also find out how running for office and working as an elected official has impacted their family life.
In a letter sent to Nolan, Carol Mellor, the league’s president, said “We are confident that meeting you and hearing your story will provide these young women with the motivation they need to consider a life of public service.”
The letter also noted that in this past election, 57 percent of women made up the voting population, yet they held “still less than 23 percent of all state legislative seats.”
Roth said she hopes that workshops like this one will help change that balance.
“We hope they [the students] will get an interest in civil participation, and gain enthusiasm of being part of the program,” Roth said.Â
“We have been very pleased by the participation by the schools, everyone is excited about participating,” she added.Â