Mississippi Women’s Policy Institute
Research, Write, Advocate
The Mississippi Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is a program designed to train community-based leaders in Mississippi in public policy advocacy. The goal of WPI is to increase the number and capacity of visionary leaders, their organizations and / or their communities so that they can actively shape and implement policies that affect the lives of women in Mississippi.
Because WPI is an experiential training fellowship, over the course of the program fellows will learn about the policy process by researching, writing, and lobbying for a state legislative bill of their choosing while receiving support and guidance from mentors and trainers with expertise in public policy work. The fellows will be responsible for developing relationships with key policymakers and allied advocates, selecting a problem to solve, and developing and implementing an advocacy plan to move a bill through the legislature. Applicants with varying degrees of past policy experience—from none at all to extensive involvement—will be considered for the program.
Our social justice framework focuses on the structural causes of inequities embedded in public institutions such as government. Although WPI was developed in response to these structural inequities, and while we encourage each cohort to critique institutionalized oppression, the program’s primary objective is to train participants to create progressive policy changes within the current legislative system. Thus, program participants are enacting policies that make Mississippi a more just and equitable place today and are encouraged to work with their communities and organizations toward making our state’s legislative process more open and accessible to all community members tomorrow.
The WPI seeks to increase the numbers of women involved in the policy arena—particularly those from communities of color, immigrant communities, queer communities, low-income communities, and rural communities. By bringing individuals who experience gender-based discrimination into the policy process, WPI works to empower leaders who will advance a policy agenda that is responsive to the needs of all.