More female candidates must stop forward

To the editor:

2016 is shaping up to be a historic year for women in politics. Hillary Clinton will likely be the first woman presidential nominee of a major party, and our country may see the first woman president come November. While we should all celebrate this momentous occasion, Secretary Clinton's unique run for president shines a light on a major problem for women in American politics.

Nationwide, women make up just 19.4 percent of Congress and 24.4 percent of state legislatures. In the 227 years since our statehood, Massachusetts has only elected five women to the U.S. House and one woman to the U.S. Senate. Women make up only 25 percent of the Legislature and we've never had an elected female governor.

Emerge Massachusetts is on the front lines of the battle to increase women's representation in government by recruiting qualified Democratic women and training them to run for office. Since 2008, we've trained 151 women and of those, 61 have run for office and 41 have won.

We're proud of our work training Democratic women to successfully run for office, but more needs to be done. We celebrate Secretary Clinton's run for president and we hope she brings more women into politics. She is proof there's no limit to what women can achieve. Now we need more female candidates to step forward.

Ryanne Olsen, Boston, The writer is executive director, Emerge Massachusetts.