Why Women Are Good Lawmakers—and Why We Need More of Them
Do you know a woman who has recently decided to run for office? Suddenly, I know several. Brittany Bronson, writing for the New York Times, explains that the 2016 presidential election “was a wake-up call for American women, one that has inspired their increased grassroots activism and political involvement.” One of the main reasons that women have been so poorly represented in government in the past is that few women ran for office. That is changing, and the results will be good for all of us.
The state of Nevada provides a case study of the positive impact for both women and men when women are well represented in state legislatures. Bronson explains that with women making up 39.7 percent of Nevada’s lawmakers, the state ranks second only to Vermont in women’s representation in state politics. The impact has been a focus on issues important to women that are usually ignored by male legislators, such as family-friendly policies in the workplace that benefit both women and men, the gender wage gap, and the “pink tax,” or the extra amount women are charged for feminine hygiene products. The female legislators of Nevada also have sponsored legislation supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and eliminating co-pays for contraception.
How can men benefit from having more women colleagues in legislative roles? Bronson notes that studies have shown that while women may support a wide range of positions, “they are often more compassionate, better at working across the aisle, and more willing to compromise, qualities intricately bound in successful policy making.” Having more female lawmakers will help everyone get more done.
Encourage the women you know to run for office—and vote for women candidates. As noted by Hillary Clinton in her recent postelection interview, we need women to get involved in making laws if gender discrimination in our society is ever going to be removed. Vote for women and help them get elected. Their engagement as lawmakers will be good for all of us.