To change the continued invisibility of Asian-American women in government, AAWPI's State House Fellowship Program targets a core part of the problem: the lack of a pipeline of Asian-American women ready to lead policy and political change. With the dearth of Asian-American role models in government, AAWPI is stepping in to develop an infrastructure to mentor and train the next generation of Asian-American women leaders.
In its eighth year, AAWPI's State House Fellowship Program is an innovative, first-of-its-kind legislative training, internship and mentoring program for Asian-American women college students and recent graduates. From January through May, seven State House Fellows intern part-time in legislative offices and participate as a group in rigorous, biweekly trainings and programming at the State House. In addition to workshops on the budget and the law-making process, programming includes briefings on topics ranging from redistricting to state educational policy; in-depth discussions of current Boston Globe articles covering State House news; special sessions with elected and appointed officials like Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong; and check-in sessions. Unique to the program are discussions around Asian-American women identity and the issues affecting the Asian-American community and Asian-American women, including the disproportionately high suicide rates among AA women from 15-24 years old, the prevalence of cervical cancer in the population, and the cultural and immigration-related challenges involved in confronting domestic violence against AA women. Each fellow is also paired with a past fellow as well as a woman mentor from the larger Asian-American community whom they meet with throughout their fellowships. As a class, fellows and their mentors also attend women in politics and Asian-American community events, to root their fellowships in the larger community.