By Meg DiMartino
I am currently fortunate enough to be Donna Brazile’s Teaching Assistant for a class I am so passionate about, “Women in American Politics.” She is a political-powerhouse of a woman and has such a presence in all of her lectures—I love listening to her. Her most recent discussion topic was political barriers that women face before deciding to run for office and concluded that the biggest hurtle that women face is ourselves. Women count themselves out before they even get in the race. This really bothered me. How can women ever become equal to men if we count ourselves out before we even try? If women are telling ourselves that we are not good enough, how can we possibly ever thwart men who think this? The fact of the matter is we need more women in office so we can have a government that reflects the electorate and demographics. We need more women! But, how do we get them?
I want to run for office. There, I said it. I want to pave the way for women to come after me. To feel like they are perfectly capable of running—and winning—for an elected office. Sometimes when I tell people this, they get uncomfortable. They don’t really understand how I can say this so confidently and how I can already know this. There is such a stigma in society against saying that you want to be an elected official—especially for women. No wonder we inhibit ourselves from having a seat at the table. But the only way I can see this changing is running for office and changing the stigma. We have to follow those who came before us and bring up those who are to come after us.
In all of her glory, Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.” We need women in the decision-making positions when our rights are at stake. If we do not make some noise and spread our elbows to make space for ourselves at the table. Women fought for decades and decades just to earn the right to vote. It’s our turn to fight for the right to decision-making. To close, I’d like to borrow the title from Chelsea Clinton’s new book because it is what I am urging us to do: It’s Your World. Get Informed. Get Inspired. Get Going!