Project Sheila’s Origin Story

On the one month anniversary of Project Sheila going live, the resource was featured in Lilith Magazine, a title for Jewish feminists.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I believe that facilitating the election of women is really the only way to ensure reproductive freedoms are protected,” she wrote in an email. “The theft of the 2016 election by Trump was a crushing blow, but the resistance that has bloomed in the last 8 months has been a joy to behold. I want to help it however I can.”


Instead of pledging allegiance to a party, she created several other guidelines. Project Sheila candidates must be female, femme, transgender, or otherwise gender-nonconforming. They must be progressive, which the website defines as “supporting the equal opportunity and dignity of women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, and other vulnerable and under-served groups.” It also states that “the candidate must stand for abortion rights and reproductive justice, and support policies that dismantle white supremacy. They must advocate for the health of the planet.”


The name Sheila comes from an Australian slang term traditionally used by men in reference to women. “Sheila describes a certain type of woman whose edges are a little bit rough, who is not always interested in doing what’s right and proper —she’s interested in going her own way,” said Cussen. “I wanted to bake that into the enterprise, to really embrace women who don’t necessarily fit the mold of the statesman and work out how we can get them to be amazing politicians.” The website proclaims, “American government needs more Sheilas.”

Huge thanks to Eden Gordon for helping to get the word out to Jewish progressives across the country. Need a campaign website built? We can do that.

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