Stories of Authentic Lives and Courageous Risk Taking
Samantha Case - A Woman on the Rise!
When Samantha Case graduated from the University of Wyoming she began her post grad journey with thoughts of working with women in crisis. She had just completed an internship working with women transitioning out of the sex trade and found that fulfilling and was passionate about the work she had done.
But, sometimes, life has something different in store for you - you just have to follow your heart.
It was the time she spent with Forward Wyoming Grassroots Institute that ended up changing Sam’s trajectory. She attended a course where she learned grass roots fundamentals and how to foster community involvement to make change happen. Then, in the fall of 2016, Sam was back in her hometown of Casper, WY and she had an opportunity to work on a political campaign.
During this campaign, Sam was able to use the skills she gained at Forward Wyoming and enjoyed being involved in the political process. However, she was also dismayed at the loss – not only of the candidate she volunteered for – but the loss of other candidates. Two of these candidates were women in the Wyoming Legislature. Women she thought had made a difference and whose voices would be missed.
When Sam started to dissect the Wyoming Legislature more, she learned the truth about the Wyoming Legislature that was just elected:
Just 10 women serve in its legislature – 11% - making it the lowest in the country for women currently in office
With Rosie Berger, who was widely expected to become the next Speaker of the House and Mary Throne, the House Minority Floor Leader, being the most prominent examples of women that had lost their seat this year, there will be no women in leadership roles this year.
Women in the state of Wyoming make up roughly 20% of city council members, 15% of county commissioners and 17% of mayors.
For the Equality State that was pretty pitiful – this was something that Sam wanted others to know about! She wanted to change these statistics. So, Sam took a leap of faith.
She began by researching opportunities out there for women to run, finding out there are hundreds of elected offices that are up for grabs every year, but the number of women that fill these positions are staggeringly low. Nationwide, women form 24.8% of state legislatures, more than double Wyoming’s 11%. Women occupy less than 25% of the local elected offices throughout the state. Why aren’t there more women in public office in Wyoming?
In High Ground Coaching and Development’s ongoing Survey (follow this link to take part in this study) there are several reasons people, including women, are not running for office. The two primary causes are that 1) they weren’t asked and 2) they do not have adequate resources (money and training) to prepare them to run for office.
But What could Sam do about this imbalance of female representation?
Taking into consideration her Women’s Studies degree along with what she had learned through Forward Wyoming, she decided to create Wyoming Women Rise.
Yes, this recent graduate was starting her own Non-Profit!
Yes, this could go either really well, or really badly.
But, Samantha – knowing the risks, moved forward. She sought the help of other groups that already existed to help women get involved in politics. She asked for help from others that had already set up non-profits. She used resources to quicken the advancement of her goals.
She created her mission statement: