FIRST THOUGHT: Political Directness
When Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was interviewed by New York magazine in 2017, many readers were flabbergasted by her real-talk candor. She’s been an outspoken female politician, inspiring women and girls to speak up for what they believe is right. To me, she took down the convoluted image of politics, simply stating what it means to be elected to office: “We’re here to help people, and if we’re not helping people, we should go the [bleep] home.” She also empowers voters to employ a simple principle when choosing which politicians to vote for: “If they suck,” she says, vote against them; “if they’re worthy,” vote for them. It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that. Today, we’re pulling a Gillibrand move and suppressing the fear behind politics.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6
While the number of women running for public office is on the rise, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And when you look at the real numbers, they can be pretty disheartening. As of 2018, women hold the highest state office of governor in only six states. It’s about time to tackle the other 44, ladies!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Erin Loos Cutraro, Founder and CEO of She Should Run
Erin Loos Cutraro is one enterprising woman who’s on a mission to grow the number of female politicians in the U.S., aiming to get 250,000 women to run for political office by 2030. She’s doing it by galvanizing women to take action through her brilliant nonpartisan organization called She Should Run.
Erin built the organization in 2011 following a gutsy career as the political director of the Women’s Campaign Fund and the deputy director of communications and policy for Missouri’s secretary of state.
While many of us are well-versed in and can form a solid opinion about politics, it’s another thing to actually run for office and understand what it is a politician actually does every day. But it’s a lot less intimidating with the support of an organization like She Should Run, which provides a wealth of resources, growth opportunities and a supportive community for aspiring female political leaders.
A key point Erin makes—and it’s a real eye-opener—is that when women run for office, they’re elected at the same rate as men. The difference is that while men are urged to run, women are neither encouraged nor recruited to pursue elected office at the same rate as men. It turns out women just need to be encouraged and supported to follow through.
And Erin’s encouraging approach is definitely resulting in success. In the past seven years of Erin’s hard work with She Should Run, more than 12,000 women have prepared to board the political train by participating in the organization’s flagship program, the Incubator. The program helps women learn how to develop their vision, expand their qualifications, build purposeful networks, develop their voice and more.
The nonprofit also emboldens future female leaders to start on the political path early. Through She Should Run’s Parents’ Course, parents and mentors can learn how to inspire a young girl who might be interested in a political future.
So, ladies, what steps can you take to contribute to the rise of more female politicians? First, ask a woman you know to run for office. Second, think about running for office yourself or getting involved in a political campaign. And discuss with the young women in your life why more women should run for office.
We can do this, ladies! As Erin says, “Leadership looks just like you!”
QUITE THE QUOTE
As esteemed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said:
“We need more consensus builders. We need people who will listen more, who are less ego-driven and partisan. I really believe if you had 51 percent women in Congress, the whole dynamic would change.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.