Why we need to build the pipeline

These stories are too common: A young woman wants to get experience working on a political campaign or for an elected official — but has trouble navigating the exclusive political world without connections. She can’t find job listings easily online, and she can’t afford to gain experience through unpaid internship opportunities.

We know these stories all too well.

That’s why we’re on a mission to break down these barriers and help more progressive women get their start. The political pipeline currently skews white, male and affluent. The available data backs this up, and we see that reflected from the entry level all the way up the leadership chain. We’re invested in helping more women of color, LGBTQ+ women and others who have been marginalized have an equal opportunity to launch and grow their career.

We believe we need decision-makers at every level of the political process — from staffers and campaigners to policy experts and consultants — who bring their lived experiences to work every day to serve our communities and move the needle on advancing progressive policies and electing progressive candidates.

Here’s what we found:

Unpaid internships are common and present a huge roadblock for those from less affluent backgrounds. That’s why paid stipends are a key component of our program.

74% of students with annual family household incomes less than $80K believe earning money is an important consideration when choosing an internship. 64% report they would have to work a second job if they accepted an unpaid internship.1

The movement to push for paid internships has been gaining steam over the last few years — from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s viral video to efforts by organizations like Pay Our Interns calling on state and federal legislatures to set aside funds for paid internships. However, there is still a long way to go to help young people with limited resources have access to political opportunities. 

Furthermore, students of color are underrepresented within political internship programs. Data from U.S. House of Representatives’ internship programs shows that Hispanic/Latino and Black students are underrepresented, while white students are dramatically overrepresented.2

Disparities continue throughout every level of the pipeline. 

Young people (18-34) from higher income backgrounds (above $200K) are 72% more likely to have worked for a political campaign, policy or government agency, or fundraising entity — compared to those from lower income households (below $50K).3

We also found that men are 75% more likely than women, LGBTQ+ and non-white folks to hold senior leadership roles in political campaigns, policy or government agencies, or fundraising entities.4

2020 may have been a banner year for “representation” in politics, but President Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon is still the first and only woman to ever run a successful Democratic presidential campaign.

These problems aren’t unique to politics and government. Across business, entertainment, tech and many other industries, leaders all over the country are asking themselves how they can diversify their teams and create inclusive environments.

Let’s get to work.

You can be a part of this change. Support us by donating and keep up with our progress by signing up for our email list. If you are interested in partnering or learning more about our program, contact us.


  1. Source: 2018 National Internship & Co-op Study
  2. Source: Pay Our Interns and James Jones/Rutgers
  3. Source: 2020 GfK MRI Doublebase
  4. Source: 2020 GfK MRI Doublebase