With uncertainty filling the air after the 2016 General Election, where do women turn for active political support and inspiration? When we think about female politicians, we think about the social disadvantage that women face. When asked about why they have not and would not run for public office, local or congressional, women respond with concerns about their credentials and the public scrutiny that accompany running for and holding an office. Currently, female politicians only compose 20 percent of Congress and local office statistics are no better. For overcoming these boundaries in the recent election and promising to continue to fight for feminism, certain local and congressional female politicians are serving as a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to women across the country. The following are three of these politicians.
At the local level, Chang, Michigan’s first Asian-American woman to serve as a district representative, kept her seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. She made statewide waves with her call to end the increase in hate crimes her state has seen following the 2016 Presidential Election. She urges her fellow Michigan politicians to stand with her, support the Take on Hate program, and fight against hate and discrimination.
Chang serves as a role model to young women all across her state. “This has been incredibly inspiring to me as a young woman living in Michigan and attending the same university that Chang did,” says Charlotte Horowitz, a student at University of Michigan, “Her ability to pursue such a challenging career and her dedication to making positive changes in Michigan have demonstrated to me that hard work and determination can allow you to achieve the seemingly impossible.”
Representing California, Harris will be the first Black- and Indian-American United States Senator. During her two terms as California’s Attorney General, she advocated for policies that protected people of all ethnic backgrounds. Moreover, in the light of the false allegations against Planned Parenthood in 2015, Harris authorized the seizure of the property of the accuser who made the false claims for use as evidence in the investigation, aiming to be sure that women’s rights to privacy and the safety of the organization were the best that they could possibly be.
Harris’ victory asserts that the fight for women’s rights is alive and well. Jada Patchigondla, a lecturer at San Jose State University, says, “[Harris] has broken many barriers in American politics […] Although I was disappointed that women couldn’t break the highest glass ceiling this election, being a part of getting Kamala Harris elected as one of California’s senators gives me hope and encouragement.”
Perhaps one of the best-known congressional victories from November 2016, Masto is the first Latina elected to the United States Senate. She is also Nevada’s first female senator. Always voicing her support for women’s rights, safety, and empowerment, Masto promises to continue the fight for women, no matter the political adversary.
Harris and Masto assumed office on January 3rd.
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