The Compass Project: Encouraging women to run for local and national public office

Two Portland women, Sandra Lewis, left, and Sue Parham, right, are spearheading a drive to encourage and support more women to run for elected office. (KATU)

Two Portland women are spearheading a drive to encourage and support more women to run for elected office.

The Compass Project's symbol and fundraising centerpiece is the True North Bracelet, designed by co-founder, Sandra Lewis.

“It's hard to miss the overarching metaphor of thinking about your own true North and following your moral compass,” Lewis said. “There's an imbalance of women's voices and women's votes.”

The Compass Project is working in tandem with the Center for American Women and Politics' "Ready to Run" campaign training for women. Thirty percent of the profits on sales of the $39 to $45 bracelets benefits the Ready to Run program.

Co-founder Sue Parham said the idea for the project came on the heels of the 2016 presidential election.

“The whole nation will, I think, absolutely gain from having more of an equal play in government roles and elected roles," Parham said. “The Compass Project allows us to raise money and to drive that money towards people who will make that change continue.”

Right now women make up only 19 percent of the United States Congress, and about 25 percent of elected roles in state office. The U.S. ranks 104th in the world for women serving in their national legislatures.

“People feel that they want to be more civically involved,” Lewis said. “Over and over people are saying, you know, I need to listen better, we need to find common ground. That is the way forward.”

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