A University of Maine at Presque Isle student is shining a spotlight on efforts to ‘raise the next generation of female political leaders’ by organizing a live stream screening of a film aimed at getting more women involved in politics. The screening of the filmRaising Ms. President, which is part of a nationwide event, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. in Folsom Hall, Room 105. This event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Melanie Maynard—a senior in UMPI’s Bachelor of Social Work program whose ultimate career goal is to get into international work, possibly with the United Nations—has been working to organize the event since this summer. This screening, and more than 100 like it around the country, is being held to celebrate the United Nations International “Day of the Girl” on Oct. 11.
“My goal in hosting this event is to empower women and girls in our community,” Maynard said. “I hope to give women the courage that they do belong in politics and the reassurance that their voices matter just as much as anyone else’s.”
Maynard is the first to explain that she is not an overly political person, but that she does feel it is extremely important to have equality is every aspect of life, including government.
In May, Maynard attended the week-long Maine National Education for Women [NEW] Leadership Summer Institute in Orono, sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. A rigorous week of educational training and workshops, the institute focused on empowering and encouraging undergraduate college women to become politically active and take on leadership roles. A large portion of the event was spent talking about politics, policies and ways of effecting change.
“Prior to this event, I had never considered politics as a route for my social work degree,” Maynard said. “However, attending the Institute brought it to my attention that politics is a great way to help make a difference in a large way.”
After attending the institute, Maynard stumbled upon the raisingmspresident.com website. She signed up to be a team leader and committed to hosting a screening of the film. Raising Ms. President, a film by Kiley Lane Parker, explores some of the reasons women don’t run for office and uncovers where political ambition begins. According to the film’s website, studies have shown that when women are at the political decision making table, their presence does make a difference. The film looks at how to get more women to run in order to create a stronger country and world.
Maynard hopes showing the film in Presque Isle will help to inspire positive change, whether at the local or national level.
“I hope to open people up to the world of politics and show them how important it is to use your voice,” Maynard said. “As the event is open to anyone, not just women, I also hope that men will learn and realize the struggle for women in politics and possibly help to close that gender gap.”