5 women in politics on the importance of female leadership in the U.S Government
In 1991, Anita Hill testified about her allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. As she stood before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hill was attacked, vilified, and dismissed by a group of 14 senators—all of them white males—and the threat to women’s fundamental rights posed by a male-dominated government was realized in a very public arena. This inspired a surge of women to run for office, a number of whom were elected to the Senate in 1992, dubbed the Year of the Woman.
Fast-forward 27 years, and here we are again, in the midst of a disturbing déjà vu. The Senate Judiciary Committee convened, once more, over sexual misconduct allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—a man appointed by a president who, himself, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by 22 women. Kavanaugh has now been confirmed and sworn into the highest court in the land. As such, the progress made by generations before us is at stake—from the push towards holding men accountable for their actions, to preserving women’s reproductive rights, and everything in between.
But outrage has again been channeled into political action this election cycle, as more women seek office. And they’re not just signing up to run in record numbers—they’re winning. Currently only 23 of the 100 senators are female, while less than 20 percent of the House is made up of women. Prominent female candidates are gaining momentum though, and a historic 256 women have qualified for the November ballot in House or Senate races. They bring with them diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and professional experiences that can help restore balance and push for greater representation in our halls of power.
This year presents a particularly extraordinary opportunity to shatter glass ceilings of all types, from Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, who could be the first African-American woman governor in the country, to Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, who could be the first openly bisexual woman in the Senate. We spoke to a range of leaders, from congressional nominees to campaign organizers, about the increased involvement of politically active women in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election. How do they believe the future of politics will change as a result, and what advice do they have for women who want to get involved? Are we on the precipice of a new Year of the Woman? Here’s what they had to say:
Click here to read the interviews published by Coverteur on 23 October 2018.