Today, women stand at a moment of political ascendance in America. As the Women’s Marches, the #MeToo movement, and 2018’s first TIME Magazine cover make clear, women are evolving from resistance fighters to power brokers. But while women are running for office in record numbers, they continue to face considerable challenges.
In our work with first-time candidates at The Arena, we’ve become acutely aware that while all first-time candidates face an uphill battle to win elections, it is hardest for women of color. And our recent data analysis confirms the deep asymmetry in financial support for women of color candidates.
The problem starts when women decide — to run or not to run — for office. In 2016, just 4% of all candidates who ran for the US House were women of color. Why? On top of the already daunting barriers that any candidate faces (like public scrutiny and no guarantee that you’ll “land the job”), women of color face additional obstacles like securing institutional support and the funding needed to build winning campaigns.