To The Ballot Box: Vote For Her And Get Women In Top Office
Red. Blue. Republican. Democrat. Independent.
Vote for a woman running for office and aim for a woman in the Oval Office.
That is the rallying cry of author Rebecca Sive, whose latest book. Vote Her In: Your Guide To Electing Our First Woman President, bears this caveat: “It’s easy to feel angry, but much harder to do something about it.”
With a “range from the most liberal to the most conservative, in the middle range, these women politicians are the ones who bring women’s and girls’ issues to the fore,” Sive says, including equal pay, domestic violence, healthcare, reproductive rights and fairness.
As the midterm elections near, the goal of a woman in the top office is top of mind.
After the first Women’s March in January 2017, Sive says, “I always wanted to write the manifesto and I felt it was needed. There is a lot that Each of us can do.”
Many other initiatives have the same mission.
UltraViolet PAC, launched a campaign recently to engage voters in the importance of non-federal races by naming a list of the 10 trailblazing down-ballot women candidates that everyone should know about.
“Many are saying this will be the ‘year of the woman,’ but to create the dramatic and lasting change women need, we can’t just elect women to federal offices–we need to focus on state and local government too,” says Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet PAC. “Now more than ever is the time to look to new examples of who should represent the people.”
Sive contends, “It’s a matter of fairness. Women should be represented at every decision-making table. It’s not just diversity of representation for diversity sake, but women offer different information.”
According to Sive, the ultimate goal is to have a woman in the Oval Office, not just as a symbol of gender equity, but because of the power of executive orders.
“Millions of men and women voted for a woman president” in 2016. Sive says. So it can happen again.
While the numbers of women running for office are impressive, the long view of this “Pink Wave” is not as encouraging.
According to CBS News, Kelly Dittmar, a political science professor at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, says, “You would think that women are sort of taking over American politics; all of the stories are about women running. The attention is to the surge or the tsunami or the pink wave. And so, all of the rhetoric makes it appear as if women are going to be well-represented.”
Yet, women are only 20 percent of representatives in Congress.
“I think women still don’t believe that they have that opportunity; they still are afraid of stepping through that good old boys’ club door,” Brown Pelzer, a Republican candidate in California for a House seat, tells CBS.
Both sides of the aisle appear to have possibilities for a female presidential candidate, she says. “For a women who wants to elect a woman president, she will have options.”
Getting to that pinnacle involves a series of steps that can begin now, Sive says. “It begins with the idea that every woman has the power to make this change.”
Sive lays out action plans to get a female president in office. “Assert your opinion in writing, frequently,” Sive wrotes. She suggets letters to the editor, social media opinion columns and more.”Encourage every woman you know to write, too,” Sive writes. And through any and all outlets, Sive writes, “Share all of this writing as often as you can with as many as you can.”
You can also have an actionplan to litigate, Sive writes. “educated yourself of women;s legal issues so that you can propose court action when needed.” Additionally, “Be an activist in contexts that advance women’s legal rights.” That can include marches, media campaigns and support. “Support women layers who work in he public interest. Give them your money and your time,” Sive writes. “Advocate for women lawyers situated to seek elected executive office in appointed governmental positions.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, “A record number of women are running for the U.S. House, Senate and state legislatures this year — more than any other election in U.S. history.”
“Women are running whether or not Democrats and Republicans invite them to,” Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, a political science professor at USC, tells the LA Times.
“A record 3,379 women have won nomination for state legislatures across the country, breaking 2016’s record of 2,649, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. And 235 women won nominations in U.S. House races, breaking the previous 2016 record of 167. Twenty-two women won major-party nominations for U.S. Senate, breaking the record of 18 set in 2012. Sixteen women have been nominated for gubernatorial races,” The LA Times reports.
“According to David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report — a nonpartisan group that analyzes campaigns and elections — women have won 43 percent of Democratic House primary races, and Republican women have won 13 percent of their party’s primaries,” the LA Times reports.
To help a woman get in office and ultimately the Oval office, Sive suggests organizing your friends, raising the consciousness about what you need to be reading and attending, what contributions you need to make.
“Women who do run will have campaigns and will need volunteers,” Sive says.Or your action plan can be to elect yourself.
“Remember that you ‘own your own destiny’ as a political leader, and integral to that destiny is remaining committed to helping women and girls.” Sive writes. “Never forget that when you hold public office, you are a role model.”
And the process of running for office or helping other women get elected can be uplifting, Sive says. “It can be a joyful experience with other women. It’s inspirational, energizing and motivating. This kind of fundamental change start at the local level.”
She adds, “It started with Susan B. Anthony or Sojourner Truth. It started with Rosa Parks on a bus. They were not in a lofty position issuing edicts.”
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldonwww.micheleweldon.com