CAN We Do It? How to Get Your Feet in the Door of Politics

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Lillia Dean, May 10, 2016

Discussing women in politics is like opening a can of worms, smelly, undesirable, and mushy. However it’s something we as a society have to talk about. With less than 25% of each political office in the US being women, this number is pathetic. Women in the United States political forces have been berated for a multitude of things. Such as not being a loving mother, a good wife, or productive caregiver to name a few. Women in this country, especially politics bring something that men don’t bring very often, ethics and compassion, two things our government desperately needs. But America has a problem with sexism which prevents them from shining out and pursuing political careers, according to PRC Research center. So how can we help young women shine through the grime of US politics?

“Our shorthand for that is women run to do something while men run to be someone”

-Mattie Kahn

The truth is in the pudding. Women often run for social and change that will have long term effects, while men tend to run for issues that will get their names on the boards. This in turn means that men tend to get a bigger platform than the women. However, Erin Schrode, the youngest woman running for congress ever, has taken this challenge to become noticed and play with the big boys in DC. Erin from a young age did not shy away from the camera. She was out talking not only locally, but internationally to get her voice and opinions heard (Erin Schrode Bio). College age girls have this opportunity too, with on campus student government opportunities. Here at TWU we have a large budding student government which includes Student senate, SGA, House of Representatives, Campus activities board, and Resident Hall Association. All of these are many times majority women. These women have the ability to make on campus impactful decisions year round that will affect the whole student body, similar to congress or (maybe even) the president. By allowing young women to be heard and in the government associations such as these on TWU, we show them that their voice and opinions matter.

“Young women are less likely than young men to receive encouragement to run for office – from anyone.”

-PRC Research centers

One word is all it takes to break someone’s dream. Why is it that so many women are crushed to discover that the politics world is so anti-feminine? Bossy, hormonal, scared of outcomes, are all things the PRC has discovered over many years of research. Yet another thing they have discovered is that women are just as qualified and prepared as men are to run and succeed at office positions. If you have a passion and desire to speak out and get your voice heard, politics needs you. Internship opportunities are available at local, county, state, and national levels all the time. As a woman, you have a different outlook on life. You have the opportunity to share your experiences and help thousands of other women. By taking the step to get your foot in the door of politics, you have already succeeded.

“I want to get things done, and unfortunately, I don’t think Congress is where that is happening,”

-Bayless

We all have great ideas, but how do we get them out there and in motion? One way is the on campus student organizations that have the power to go to people like the president and chancellor of the University. By voicing opinions in these such organizations, you can start recycling on campus, such as UNT, or safe party environments , silent disco, midnight breakfast, on TWU campus. As Bayless from ELLE stated, women like to get things done, and sometimes that happens the most at a smaller level. Governments work together, from city to county, county to state, state to national. So even at a smaller city level job, you are able to impact the county, which leads to state and so on up the line of power. The PRC study shows that women compromise better and stand up for their beliefs more than their men counterparts and at a local level, that can mean quite a bit of change in your community. Just by getting involved with Denton’s city council meetings means you as a woman are taking part in politics and voicing concerns and opinions.

+As women, we are go getters, trendsetters, and dreamers. There are so many opportunities in today’s world for us as a group to get things done. Becoming involved in politics is a sure fire way to start change, even at a community level. Following Erin Schrode’s path to her current success she started small at a local level and now is in the big leagues. She took on small tasks to climb the ladder to run for congress. Young women can take this opportunity to join student organizations, sit in on city council meetings, or even find internships where they are around working politicians to show that they have a chance to make a difference in politics. By showing young women that there are options out there to make a difference and break social stigma of how women in politics are viewed.

Citations:

  1. Chapter 3: Obstacles to Female Leadership. (2015, January 14). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/chapter-3-obstacles-to-female-leadership/
  2. “City Council Meeting Schedule.” City of Denton, TX :. Denton City. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.cityofdenton.com/government/city-council/city-council-meeting-schedule>.
  3. “Erin Schrode.” Erin Schrode. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.erinschrode.com/#!bio/c20z5>.
  4. Kahn, M. (2015, May 13). Why Don’t More Women Run for Office? Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.elle.com/life-love/news/a28348/why-dont-women-run-for-office/
  5. Kahn, M. (2015, May 13). Why Don’t More Women Run for Office? Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.elle.com/life-love/news/a28348/why-dont-women-run-for-office/Women and Leadership. (2015, January 14). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/women-and-leadership/
  6. “Student Government Association Home – TWU Student Government Association – Texas Woman’s University.” Student Government Association Home – TWU Student Government Association – Texas Woman’s University. TWU. Web. 10 May 2016. http://www.twu.edu/student-government/
  7. “Students and Entry-level Jobseekers.” Go Government. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://gogovernment.org/government_careers/students_entry-level_talent.php>.
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