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Women’s Equality Day Celebration at Target HQ

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges celebrated Women’s Equality Day at Target Headquarters with the Women’s Business Council and the Citizens Council. Women’s Equality Day is the anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in the U.S., and each year the Women’s Business Council invites an inspirational female leader to come discuss their role and the path to it, including barriers they’ve cleared.

In a conversation moderated by Irene Quarshie, Director of Government Affairs for Target, Mayor Hodges talked about her experiences as a female in a leadership position, both on the Minneapolis City Council and in her current role as mayor. She said that first and foremost, she tries to be true to herself and lead as herself, while being aware that there are gender stereotypes associated with leadership and she may face higher scrutiny than a male might in her same position. Mayor Hodges applauded executive involvement to bridge gender gaps in a corporate environment.

A final thought that Mayor Hodges closed with was a call to action: ask qualified women to run for office. She then elaborated on several ways to engage if holding office is not of interest; participating in neighborhood councils or campaigns on a particular issue of importance at a local level, voting in local races and being well-informed on who represents you.

Joining Mayor Hodges was Erin Vilardi, Executive Director of VoteRunLead, an organization dedicated to giving women tools they can use to successfully run for elected office – and inviting them to do so. Currently, in the nation’s 100 largest cities, only 13 percent of mayors are women and three percent are women of color. Nearly half of all U.S. states have never had a woman governor. And women of color comprise only five percent of the nearly 7,500 state legislators across the country.

VoteRunLead’s mission is to accelerate the rate of change by building a massive network of women leaders through their signature program Invitation Nation, which aims to reach five million people who will invite half a million women to run for local and state offices across the United States. VoteRunLead will continue its rollout throughout the fall with the launch of a new website with crowd-sourced resources, and its first national “Go Run” training for women to be held in Minneapolis following the November elections.

Photos from the Event

Michelle Gierke, Co-chair of the WBC, Irene Quarshie, Mayor Hodges, and Kellie Davies, Co-chair of the WBC.