With the 2014 midterm elections right around the corner, I was reading more into each of the candidates, and what I found (though not surprising) bothered me. There are only 15 women running for positions in the entire country. And unfortunately, none of them are from Colorado.
According to Time, only 18.9 percent of Congress is currently composed of women. They are hoping it will get up to at least 20 percent this year, which is progress no doubt, but still pretty sad if you ask me. It could be an entire century before women make up at least 50 percent of Congress. That is outrageous. I personally want to live to see the day when women have a significant amount of political influence, but if we don’t do something soon, that might not happen.
Don’t get me wrong, the male candidates are definitely qualified, and for hundreds of years men have successfully lead our country, but times are changing. Women have made tremendous strides in the past few decades, but it’s time that we have more of a voice in politics. We need to break through the last of the oppression and sexism that is still very much present in America today, even if it’s not always obvious.
It’s not just a matter of getting women into office because it’s only fair that we should have all the same opportunities as men. If women were truly not qualified to be leaders of this country, then I wouldn’t even be writing this. But we are just as smart, just as opinionated, and just as capable as men to run alongside them in elections and become the great leaders we have the potential to be. We need women’s new and different ideas and perspectives. We need them to speak on behalf of all other women so that our voices can be heard and our needs can be met in a way that only a woman can. We need these strong, intelligent female leaders for the sake of our country.
So the question is, why aren’t there more women making strides in politics? According to the Huffington Post, the main reason is that because there are so few female politicians, it’s harder for young women to find role models they can look up to and strive to be like. Many women struggle with the confidence to believe they have what it takes to be successful. People tend to look up to others that they can relate to, and if there’s a lack of women in political positions, subconsciously women won’t believe they can run for office.
It’s a vicious circle. Where do we start? We need women to run, but in order for that to happen they need a woman in their desired position to already be there to look up to. The only way we’re going to see any change is through brave women who are willing to take that first jump and pave the way for generations to come. We have to encourage our young girls and make sure they know that they have what it takes.
I know that there are women at CSU who are more than capable of becoming future leaders of America and changing the face of politics as we know it. I know some incredibly smart and ambitious girls who would exceed your expectations as elected officials. It is our job as their peers to support them along their journey and make sure they eventually make it into these positions and become the leaders we know they can be.
Collegian Columnist Allie Woeber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org