National Education for Women's Leadership Program
About N.E.W. Leadership
N.E.W. (National Education for Women’s) Leadership is an intense, five-day, non-partisan leadership program designed to educate and inspire future women political leaders and remove the barriers faced by women in public life. Sponsored by the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center since 2002, N.E.W. Leadership is part of OU’s commitment to supporting diversity and developing women leaders throughout Oklahoma. The program has more than 500 graduates, many of whom serve as leaders in local, state and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, state agencies and corporations.
In 2016, the N.E.W. Leadership program was honored for the 15th year with The Journal Record’s "Program Making a Difference" award for its work in inspiring and empowering women.
Each May, a diverse group of 35-40 undergraduate women, who represent the best and brightest from around the state, converge in Norman for the program. OU students comprise a large portion of each class. Historically, more than half of the students who attend other schools go on to complete their undergraduate or graduate education at OU. Overall, the alumnae represent more than 40 colleges and universities across the state.
Students are selected in a competitive application process and embody a mosaic of majors, ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religious faiths, geographic locations, economic and personal experiences. And they all share a common desire to enhance their leadership skills to serve and benefit the citizens of Oklahoma.
Alumnae include traditional and non-traditional students, military veterans, single parents, grandmothers, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, aspiring leaders and experienced advocates. The diversity encourages a dynamic social and learning environment, and many students form deep friendships and continue their relationships long after N.E.W. Leadership ends.
The five-day schedule is packed with skill-building workshops, campaign and policy simulations, leadership exercises, networking opportunities and a day-long visit to the State Capitol. Students meet the state’s most prominent female local and state officeholders, public administrators, community advocates, and business leaders. Noted women such as elected officials, tribal legislators, nonprofit leaders, political activists and educators serve as faculty-in-residence and stay with the students on site. They also participate in the activities and serve as life and professional mentors to the students.
Women in the Legislature
In 2016, one of our alumnae – Cyndi Munson - was re-elected to the Oklahoma legislature after winning a special election in 2015. However in 2017, due in large part to term limits, Oklahoma will send the fewest women to the Capitol since 2010 and will rank next to last in the nation for the percentage of women elected to state legislatures. This trend needs to change and more than ever, we need your help to ensure this program is available to undergraduate women who seek to create change in an increasingly diverse world.
Women Leaders Need Your Support
In order to remove any financial barriers which might prevent students from applying or attending, this life-changing program is offered at no cost to the students. However, there is a cost to providing this high-quality training. Typical costs include housing, food, and transportation for five days. Others include curriculum development and staffing throughout the year. Total costs run approximately $2,500 per student.
Since no state funding goes into the program, N.E.W. Leadership depends on support from individual donors like yourself, grants, and corporate sponsorships. N.E.W. Leadership students need your support!
Thank You for Helping Us Break Barriers
Thank you for supporting our students and helping remove barriers for women leaders. Your investment in the women of Oklahoma will pay dividends for our students and our state for years to come.