Here is a piece of good news for all of us: women’s involvement in politics is skyrocketing. The ways to get involved are endless, including petitioning Congress, attending meetings and rallies for causes you support, holding elected officials accountable for their votes, registering voters, and running for office. Running for office can include running for school board, town council, state legislature, governor, or US Congress. Gail Collins of the New York Times writes that “groups that help prepare women to run for office are reporting an unprecedented number of website visits, training-school sign-ups and meeting attendance.” Why is it good news for all of us that women are preparing to run for office? Studies show that women, as a group, are better at working with others. Collins points out that female senators in Washington have regular bipartisan dinners, while I have observed that the men, even those in the same party, cannot work together or agree. In the recent past, women senators were able to work together, across the aisle, to move stalled legislation forward. Brittany Bronson of the New York Times mentions the state of Nevada as a case study of the positive impact for everyone when women are well represented in legislative bodies. 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. This translates to a focus on issues important to women that are usually ignored by male legislators, such as family-friendly policies in the workplace, the gender wage gap, and the “pink tax”—the extra amount women are charged for feminine hygiene products. The female legislators of Nevada have also sponsored legislation supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and eliminating copays for contraception. Collins notes that if more women get into office, “it’ll be about time.” She explains:
- Women hold under 25 percent of the seats in the nation’s state legislatures.
- Women hold just under 20 percent of the seats in Congress.
- There are only six women governors.
- We have never had a woman president.