Why You (Yes, You) Should Go into Politics

In the United States, we need more women to go into politics and become politicians.  More women in office will help to better ensure that our rights & interests are well-represented in Congress, and it will also set an example for future generations of young women to follow suit.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to women in United States politics—unlike in Canada—we simply aren’t equally represented, even in the year 2015.  The situation is abysmal: according to Anne Gautreau of Press & Guide, only 20 percent of the U.S. Congress, 6 percent of governors, and 24 percent of state legislators are women.  Those are scary numbers, especially considering that women constitute more than half the national population!

Important Issues Versus Frivolity

This means that, rather than penning another article about fashion accessories or hairstyles, I’m putting out a call-to-action for more women to get involved in politics and run for office: yes, I’m looking at you.  Not at your more popular or socialite friends, but at you.  This is because we’re at a major crossroads and in dire need of women in political office.

The general state of apathy and lack of concern for the state of issues that usually matter to women—healthcare, reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and so on—coupled with a lack of meaningful presence of women in office means that our interests aren’t being accurately reflected or represented.  No, it’s not a coincidence that the fewer women are in office, the fewer people are aware of or willing to fight for issues affecting women.  Part of the reason may be attributed to simple lack of awareness.  However, more often, it’s probably more related to apathy and a lack of connection between the issues that are naturally important to women and those who are currently in office.

We Begin the Race Ten Yards Behind

Interestingly, it’s been found by faculty researchers at Arizona State University that negative advertising and commercials are “less effective at depressing evaluations of woman candidates, compared to male candidates.”  This might be because people’s impressions of female candidates are already relatively negative, compared to their impressions of male candidates, so any negative press is less likely to damage the women running for office—as opposed to the men, who have more to lose and farther to fall, so to speak, than the women.

Luckily for introverts, there is Running Start, which was started by comedienne Amy Poehler.  It’s an organization that encourages young women to enter public service.  Nancy Bocskor, adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, sits on the Running Start board and offers this advice to women interested in running for office: “Watch the news and read the newspaper.  Know what’s happening—and listen to lots of different ideas and opinions as you’re forming your own…  And be fearless!”  Reflecting this pioneering spirit, Running Start offers several different opportunities for getting politically involved, including the Young Women’s Political Leadership Program, Star Fellowship, Elect Her, Off the Record, the Young Women’s Political Summit, and Next Step.

Consider Politics, Regardless of Age

If it’s been a few years since you graduated from college, fear not.  Take a cue from one of these six remarkable women and be inspired, regardless of your present age.  In all seriousness, however, it’s time to elevate our concerns above such shallow topics as fashion and beauty tips, and to be more concerned with matters of enslavement versus freedom.  How is it possible to be truly free if our choices are limited economically, career-wise, or in terms of our reproductive choices?

It’s time to take our power back into our own hands and stand up for our rights, step up and claim our power, as women, to effect change for ourselves and our families, friends, and extended communities.  You can help to level the playing field.  Decide to step up and do right by history and your conscience: become a politician and rid them of their bad names.


Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Boise, Idaho

I write. I also play the piano and sing along, go for hikes in & out of town, and I'm the host of "The Poetry Show!" every Sunday on Radio Boise, KRBX 89.9 / 93.5 FM. Follow me on Twitter @TPS_on_KRBX.

Daphne Stanford is a writer of many things: poetry, creative nonfiction, and songs for vox & piano.

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