Biden Harris

Her Campus x Senator Gillibrand

On October 29th, Her Campus hosted an enlightening press conference, sponsored by the Biden campaign, with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and HC cofounder Windsor Hanger Western, where she answered questions from our fellow HC members at universities across the country and urged women to vote and be more involved in politics. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. 1. On institutionalized racism: “We need to dig deep and find out all the places where institutionalized racism disproportionately harms communities of color and women and make sure that we can overcome it.”

    person holding a sign that says "racism is the biggest pandemic"

    Senator Gillibrand brought up some very powerful points when it came to the topic of institutionalized racism, and not just in the political system. She spoke about the maternal mortality rate, how black women are 4 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, and in NYC, black women are 12 times more likely. She addressed the problem of access to capital and how women of color are likely to have a harder time because of how they are women and a person of color in this country. Gillibrand also touched on health care, which is a basic human and civil right, and how communities of color have been disproportionately more affected than white communities during the pandemic. Institutional racism is a very real and major issue in America, affecting minorities in every aspect, and the only way we can overcome it is to vote for Joe and Kamala, who we know will work hard to do something about it.

  2. 2. On first time voting: “I think it’s really important for people to vote, vote their conscience, vote their values, and I think if they vote, we will win.”

    Senator Gillibrand listed many issues that are important to focus on, especially when deciding who to vote for in this upcoming election such as institutionalized racism, legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana, women’s rights and reproductive health, universal healthcare, the economy, and recovering from the pandemic, just to list a few. Your vote counts and you must use your vote to actively change what needs to be fixed in this country. She emphasized that structural changes need to be made and to make that happen, we need to elect individuals that intend to actively change and better the lives of the constituents, rather than just appealing to their donors. She urges young people to vote because we have the power to make a change since when it comes to voting there is a disproportional amount of college-aged students.

  3. 3. On women in politics: “Don’t sell yourself short.”

    The future is female

    When it came to the topic of women in politics, Senator Gillibrand had a lot of constructive advice to give. She urges women to believe in themselves, speak about the issues that are important to them that they want to change, and to not sell yourself short. Women have a plethora of skills that can be contributed to any environment they are a part of and it is important to use what you are good at to make a positive change in your communities. Women are smart, tough, talented, resourceful, and capable to do anything that they set their mind to, and that is the mindset Senator Gillibrand highlighted, especially when it comes to women who are interested in running for office from the local to the federal level.  

  4. 4. On working in a male-dominated workplace: “We need to push back on misogyny, on sexism, on gender bias in the workplace and all settings, and we also have to hold people accountable.”

    women sitting next to each other with laptops

    Senator Gillibrand used this point to highlight the fact that women need to set a different standard when it comes to what issues are spoken about. 70% of political reporters are white and male, which means they tend to focus on things that are relevant to themselves, and issues that only affect young white men. The issues that women need to be addressed are rarely being addressed. We need fair reporting on what’s important to women by pushing down the barriers in all industries to level the playing field. We need young, female reporters to talk about issues that are relevant to a woman to have women’s voices be uplifted and heard in the same way.

     

Senator Gillibrand’s most crucial point is to vote – and not just for the presidential elections- and involve yourself in politics, because we need to be the change we wish to see. You must vote blue in this coming election for a variety of different reasons, such as seeing positive changes in the healthcare system, the economy, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and to start on the path of eliminating systemic and institutionalized racism. Let your voice be heard and elect someone who represents your values and will be in office actively bettering the country! VOTE!

 

“The vote is precious. It is almost scared. It’s the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it” – John Lewis