EMILY's List and Women in Leadership
Note from editor: HelloGiggles is proud to provide a platform for groups like EMILY’s List to spread the word about important initiatives like getting a woman elected as the next POTUS. Check out their twitter chat TODAY, 5/2 at 3pm EST (#mpotus) to see what they’re planning in their upcoming campaign for the next election. Submit your questions now on twitter with #mpotus. Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all work together to get women into leadership roles, not only in politics but in all industries across the globe.
There are so many phenomenal examples of women in leadership roles.
I have had three main jobs in my entire life, not counting writing for the fantastic website that you are reading this on because the word “job” has a bit of tediousness associated with it, and nothing about this “job” is tedious. But for argument’s sake, let’s call it a job, as well. In my first job, at a movie theater, my boss was a man, but in my following job, when I moved away from my big city life, high school, family, and familiarity, my boss was a woman. She was strict, and wore her hair in a scrunchie, her shirt ironed and tucked in at all times. Extremely professional, but a great leader. When I started working for my current job, I was hired by a man–a smart one, at that. He was funny, particular, and definitely not as involved in our work as the woman who hired me when I moved up in the company. Never in my life had I met a boss with quite as much strength as she has. She is confident, smart, well-spoken, blunt, and far too bossy. Is she the easiest person to work with? Not by a long shot, but is she an idol? Is she a leader? Is she the kind of woman who walks into a room and demands the respect of everyone around her? Absolutely. On top of being a manager, she is a mother, a girlfriend, a runner, and on top of all of those vital roles, she is in the Naval Reserve. I have zero idea how she balances everything she balances. Though she is imperfect (and aren’t we all?), she is the strongest example of a leader I have ever met in my life.
And on top of that, almost all of my teachers growing up were women, and I was raised by a single mother. Men were never around me at all, with the exception of my brothers, and almost never in leadership roles.
Now I write for HelloGiggles, and The Conversation, and The Gaggle, and all of my “bosses” (editors) are women. And they are all amazing, and I feel bonded to them through the strength of femininity. I feel empowered by, and through them. And all of these fantastic, uplifting, feminine-based sites were created by ladies.
And what does any of this have to do with anything?
There are so many phenomenal examples of women in leadership roles that it boggles my mind that we still struggle with electing women into political positions. I am not even solely referring to the fact that we have never been anywhere close to having a female President, either. Why do we struggle so much country-wide in electing women into office? Have women, by bearing children, raising them, caring for them, nurturing them, balancing work, and personal lives, and familial obligations not proven to the country that we are capable of being leaders? Are women not the most natural born leaders that there are in the first place?
It is frustrating to say the least, and completely understandable when we become dejected–rendering the whole political process hopeless.
But we are women, ladies. (And to the men reading this, you are not a woman, but you can support your ladies anyway!) Nothing is hopeless, and everything is possible.
The answer could come from a list. Not the kind I make all day long necessarily, but a much more thorough one. EMILY’s List has a self-proclaimed “simple” mission: the program is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. Can I repeat that? I said pro-choice Democratic women. There are a whole lot of words in that mission statement that freak people out, primarily because they are not words associated with normalcy. Women have been leading everything since the beginning of time, but very much on the down low. We are, as a nation, as individuals, simply accustomed to men in leadership roles. Female police officers, firefighters, and judges are rare enough in our conditioned minds, that of course it is out of our comfort zones to imagine a woman high up in political office. As aforementioned, almost all of the leaders in my life have been women, but almost none of them are recognized as such. But we can change that language, we can change that mindset. We just need a little List to help us.
EMILY’s List has assisted in the election of ten governors, nineteen members of the United States Senate, over one hundred members of the House of Representatives, and over five hundred members of various local political offices around the nation. Through their “WOMEN VOTE!” campaign, launched in 1995 and still going strong today, EMILY’s List helps to inspire and encourage women to do more than “just talk” about women’s votes. The “WOMEN VOTE” arm of EMILY’s List educates and mobilizes female voters. Getting women into office should of course start with women supporting each other in their campaigns. EMILY’s List is seemingly ahead of its time in their dreams. Created in 1985 (before this feminist was even born!), EMILY’s List consisted of a few women (twenty-five of them) and some handwritten letters encouraging their friends to raise money for Democratic women. Throughout their incredible historical timeline, the organization has exceeded expectations and dreams by helping to elect fourteen of the current historic number of women (twenty this year!) in the United States Senate. We do not have to accept mediocrity, ladies and gentlemen. We do not have to accept that Presidents should be men, or that anything has to be run by a man. Women can lead–it is in our blood and in our bones, just as much as it is potentially in a man’s.
I had a rough week, in fact, I have had a rough few years. There are plenty of times throughout a year in my life when I can begin to feel dejected about the state of the world. It always redeems itself, this beautiful circling globe of ours. Our country has a whole bunch of baggage we need to lose in a metaphorical airport somewhere. EMILY’s List (which, for the record, is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast”–“it helps the dough rise”) is one of the best resources we have to help us make those bounding leaps toward equality. It is not man versus woman; it is humans for humanity.
In the past few years, we have made leaps and bounds (that we should have made a long time ago, in my opinion) toward true equality within our country. We are defiantly standing up for marriage equality, and beginning to focus on the rights of transgendered individuals, as well as, and perhaps most notably, our President is a Black man. But he is a Black man. It is great, so exciting, something I feel passionately connected to–making history with my generation is vital to my maturation and appreciation for the country I used to dismiss as nothing but an old white man’s land. And you know what could help me stand up and wave my American flag even more fervently? If we were able to elect a woman into the White House, I could truly begin to believe in the goodness of the government. Considering their ever increasing success rate in electing pro-choice Democratic women into political positions, I truly believe EMILY’s List could be a key factor–if not thekey factor–in assuring a woman’s name on the Democratic ticket by 2016. EMILY’S List previously endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, and considering she is a pro-choice Democratic woman, I believe she would be an exceptional choice to endorse once again…if she decides to run. As a pro-choice, Democratic, liberal feminist of a young woman, there is nothing that swells my heart more than this kind of organization. We at HelloGiggles (such a loving space of awesome women!) are lucky enough to participate in a Twitter Chat with the president of EMILY’s List, Stephanie Schriock.
On May 2nd, EMILY’s List will also unveil their national campaign to put a woman in the White House! You guys! This is happening! Thank you to the wonderful women out there supporting a cause worth fighting for.