Virginia Kase: How to Vote

November 12 - Sarah Ashlock


I just heard that Marie Claire UK will stop publishing its magazine. The publication has been in production for 31 years. So much has changed since then, hasn’t it? For the first decade, the magazine featured fashion models on its covers before focusing on well-known celebrities. This got me thinking about change. We often expect to know our 10-year plan. We have it carved out in our minds and may even share it with our friends. That decade may look exactly as you expected, or it look the opposite. It’s fantastic to have an idea, a goal, a roadmap. It’s even better to enjoy the ride along the way.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 36 percent

An artist I like mentioned that she had a plan—she was in college, working 2 jobs and in a verbally abusive relationship. Things came crashing down and she dropped out, moved back in with her folks and felt defeated. She’s since found joy and her new version of success. Failure can be devastating, particularly to your wallet. We often talk about how women aren’t funded as often or for as much as men, which means 36 percent of female entrepreneurs use cash compared to 32 percent of men. The times are changing in more ways than one and voting can move the needle across all industries.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Virginia Kase, CEO of the League of Women Voters

If you don’t think change is normal, ask a group of senior citizens about their political leanings when they were young. Sometimes our changes are subtle, while other times it’s a big shift. Whether you’re right, left or somewhere in between, you have a right to vote. Voting’s a privilege that had to be earned by women– particularly women of color. Virginia Kase has been at the forefront of civil rights for 25 years.

She’s the CEO of the League of Women Voters. With more than 700 local leagues and nearly half a million members, this non-partisan organization has had a history of engaging in voting rights and legislative reform.

Virginia isn’t afraid of taking a stand on issues she believes in, issues that are known for controversy. Before LWV, Virginia worked for an organization that’s known for its fight for immigrant rights called CASA. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to Virginia’s heart.

Raised by a foster mother who was originally from Puerto Rico, Virginia watched her mom vote one day. She’d done it many times before but this time, her mother’s broken English raised questions by the polling staff. It gave Virginia insight into her own privilege, as she’s never had to endure the confusion and humiliation due to the way she looks and her perfect English.

There’s something the LWV has done that stopped me in my tracks. The League’s president and Virginia authored a blog post acknowledging the blemishes of its organization’s past. That’s right. Admitting fault. Can you believe? The two women explain that LWV didn’t stand up for women of color and was downright unwelcoming.

But, things change. Virginia’s reign at LWV seems to be off to an emboldening start. Vote. It’s what we have fought so hard for.


Evangeline Lilly said:

I'm very proud of being a woman, and as a woman, I don't even like the word 'feminism' because when I hear that word, I associate it with women trying to pretend to be men, and I'm not interested in trying to pretend to be a man. I don't want to embrace manhood; I want to embrace my womanhood.

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