“It is great time for young women to run for congress,” says former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln. She, along with other former Congresswomen: Mary Bono, Constance Morella, Barbara Kennelly, and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun encouraged young women in the audience to run for public office and eradicate the leadership gap. I recently got to hear these women speak and they inspired me to run in the future; here’s why more young women should do the same.
Why should young women run for office?
1. Because women stick up for other women. From these women’s experience in the legislature, they affirm that women are more likely to work together to represent the issues women care about. Former Congresswoman Constance Morella affirms, “It was women who were able to advance great pieces of legislation like the Violence Against Women Act.”
2. Because women bring different perspectives. Senator Lincoln, who came to the Senate with twin two-year-old boys says, “My perspective as a young mother in the U.S. Senate was critical. For these reasons, more young women are needed in our legislatures.”
3. Because we need more collaborators. Congress’s current gridlock is in dire need of collaborative work rather than partisanship, and women bring that collaborative spirit. For example, in the recent government shutdown, it was Senate women who led the effort to find accord.
4. Because women in Congress believe in you. The former congresswomen have advice for young women thinking about running. Former Congresswoman Mary Bono says the best way to begin is to get involved in your community and get known! As per former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the only way that we can close this leadership gender gap is with courage.
6. Because you have access to trainings. There are many training programs there to help women get ready to run for office after college as well. Check out the national and state-by-state resources curated by the Center for American Women and Politics.
Thinking about running for office?
“Ask why why why when you come to a new organization, know your environment, know the structure” Advice from Mayor of Hillside, NJ Angela Garretson 2014
“I came to the senate with a new young mother perspective and it was critical.”-Blanche L. Lincoln, Former US Senator
“It is fact not fault that we don’t have more women in elected office. It is a fact that women’s role in society from the beginning has been nurturing the home or teaching but it will be our fault if we allow it to remain this way. And so, I ran.”
“I am not a better candidate because I am a woman but because I come with a different perspective.” Former US Senator Blanche L. Lincoln
In 1998, Senator Lincoln made history when she became the youngest women ever elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 38. Her career in Congress spans 16 years, first as a two-term member of the House of Representatives and then as a two-term member of the U.S. Senate.