I sit here writing this the day after Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the 2020 race, and even though I am a Bernie Sanders supporter, I can’t help but be sad about this. Warren was resilient; she practically ended Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage. She was a great communicator, she was personable, and she was unapologetic. She was, constantly, one of the most outspoken on the debate stage and she made sure everyone knew she had plans. I was inspired by her courageousness in a field that is constantly working against her, against women in general. Of course, most politicians have flaws. Most politicians have a sense of greed or have made mistakes in the past, have said questionable things that will haunt them in the future, but with women, it is always emplified. And during Women’s History Month, as well as during a politically heavy time, I think it is important to recognize the work of female politicians.
Despite not having a female president, there has been an influx of powerful females in politics. And even though there are only two men left standing, the 2020 presidential race for the democratic nominee did have a record breaking amount of women running for president: Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The midterm elections in 2018 also saw a record breaking number of women elected into congress. Kyrsten Sinema became the first female senator from Arizona (she’s also the first openly bisexual senator), Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim in Congress, Deb Haaland became the first Native American women to enter Congress, and New York City’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman in Congress at age 29 after she defeated long-time congressman Joe Crowley.
Older women in politics have also been steadfast. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fought gender-based stereotypes for years and she will continue to do so until she can’t. She was one of the only women in her Harvard Law class but persisted and graduated with highest honors. She is a cancer survivor and her vigor will never cease to inspire me. Current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is also a woman who gets things done. She helped pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which helped ensure that women are paid equally. She also helped to pass the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal which protects LGBTQ citizens who serve in the military.
And as women become more prominent in politics, the demonization and verbal abuse gets worse and worse, especially for women of color. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got brutal hate when it was announced that she would be a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ilhan Omar faces discriminatory accusations from the United States president and his supporters, and it has been proven that the female candidates for the presidency have faced many more attacks than the male candidates when it comes to right-wing and fake news accounts; the list goes on and on. It takes an incredibly strong person to deal with this because as everyone knows, words can hurt.
Even though I am in my early 20s,I still wonder if I will see a female president in my lifetime. And to the women working to make that happen, I thank you. When I was in high school, I thought about possibly going into politics. I have always cared about world issues and have always wanted to make a difference but I soon realized, I could never do it. I could never handle the scrutiny or the constant mutable tactics used against women.
So, to the women who constantly face misogynistic comments, who are constantly told they are too “emotionally unstable” to be in power, and to the little girls who want to be in politics later in life, I thank you for the work you have done and will continue to do. I hope you know your efforts never go unrecognized and many people are rooting for you.