Founded in 2013, College Democrats of Oregon (CDO) is one of 47 state federations under the official youth branch of the Democratic Party, College Democrats of America. For several years, the majority of leadership positions in the organization have been held by women. Scholarship has established that women are at a distinctly gendered disadvantage when running for office, and this study shows its roots begin in student-led political parties like College Democrats, even when women’s leadership seems to thrive. Interviews conducted with current and former women officeholders in CDO have shown that despite the abundance of female leadership, women still experience hesitancy to run. Furthermore, socioeconomic status can either positively or negatively influence a woman’s sense of qualification and availability for involvement. What has moved to women to run for office in their chapter and the state is direct recruitment by those in power and appointment to office.

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