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Her Campus X Senator Gillibrand

Her Campus had the opportunity to hold a virtual press conference with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand has been a United States Senator of New York since 2009 and has been an inspiration and advocate for women in politics across the U.S. She started “Off the Sidelines” in 2011 to support women candidates for congress after the number of women running decreased for the first time in modern history. “Off the Sidelines” has raised over 9 million dollars to support women candidates across the country. She has also worked on multiple issues including authorizing the stock act, fighting for paid family leave and advocating for military justice reform. Gillibrand is an inspiration and role model to young women across the country and believes women need to be more proactive about getting their voices heard.

“If young college-aged women don’t vote, then those who get elected won’t actually represent our values. They will not care about our healthcare, our future, our families, our communities,” said Gillibrand, emphasizing how important it is that women vote so their needs can be accounted for.

Gillibrand talked about how this was one of the most important elections for young women in terms of healthcare and reproductive rights. “I think reproductive rights are basic healthcare,” said Gillibrand. “The ability to choose when you’re having children, how many children you’re having, under what circumstances you’re having children are all basic human rights and civil rights.”

Women’s reproductive rights could be on the line this election season with the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion as a constitutional human right. Another issue on the docket this election season is addressing institutional racism and how it disproportionately affects people of color in our society. “We are in a society right now where institutional racism is real,” said Gillibrand. “It affects communities of color, women of color significantly.” 

She mentioned that there are disparities in the healthcare system and economy. She has a bill for the next COVID-19 relief package that will make sure women and minority-owned businesses get access to capital that they didn’t get in the last two rounds of PPP.

Gillibrand wants to do all she can to overcome institutional racism. “You need to dig deep and find all the places institutional racism disproportionately harms communities of color and women and make sure we can overcome it,” she said.

All of this can only be done if people vote. Your voice and your beliefs won’t be heard or addressed if you don’t vote. 

“It’s really important for people to vote,” said Gillibrand. “Vote their conscience. Vote their values.” (All of your voting needs can be taken care of at iwillvote.com).

Gillibrand also noted how important and essential women are to the political field. “I think women have so much to add, whether in public service, in government, in business,” said Gillibrand. “We should value ourselves and value what we have to offer and if we value ourselves, eventually others will value us too.”

She talked about how women need to make their voices heard so that we can be adequately represented and recognized in this country. “We have to constantly push back on misogyny, on sexism, on gender bias in the workplace and in all settings,” said Gillibrand.

Women are half of the United States population and therefore needed in political positions to adequately represent that half of the population. Gillibrand said that it can be daunting being the only woman in situations of power, but encourages young college women to not sell themselves short and fight for the job they want. 

“You are smart enough, tough enough and capable enough for any job you want to do,” said Gillibrand, encouraging women to fight for what they want confidently and unapologetically because our voices are needed in this country.

“It’s our country,” said Gillibrand, “It’s your future, it’s our democracy that’s at stake.”

Did you vote?