Women In Politics

A panel of women involved with politics discussed with an audience of students at Ohio University on Wednesday about the effects women can have in politics and the need for balance between men and women within the government.

Cleveland.com political reporter (Mary Kilpatrick), Ohio University Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science (Sarah Poggione), Republican State Representative (Christina Hagan), Democratic State Representative (Catherine Ingram) and student moderator (Katie Pittman), formed the panel that spoke in Morton Hall on Wednesday evening. Photo by Hannah Moskowitz

(left to right) Catherine Ingram, Sarah Poggione, Christina Hagan, Mary Kilpatrick, Katie Pittman (Photo provided by Hannah Moskowitz)

“You’ll be bullied, told you can’t in every way and every occupation, but there is going to be somebody who believes you shouldn’t and can’t take the next steps”, said Christina Hagan.

Hagan acknowledged, “we need strong female leaders”.

“Women have a different perspective on issues that men will never face, such as gynecological issues, but continue to only receive press coverage about their appearance, their family/children, hair, clothing, ultimate looks, or even their laugh,” said Sarah Poggione. Poggione studies women in politics and sees that it is necessary for the different views of women to be shown and discussed.

“Important decisions should be made by the right people who are elected,” said Catherine Ingram. Ingram faces the intersection of being a woman in politics, who also happens to be African American.

“A woman’s work is never done, but it's supposed to be at home,” Ingram has been told. People within our society still believe women should not be making the hard decisions.

“There is a confidence gap existing between men and women, which makes women with the skills feel they must be overqualified for the jobs that men only need to be qualified for”, said Mary Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick became interested in women in politics in 2017, after noticing the extreme difference in the amount of men and women in the Ohio Legislature.

When discussing the current debate of fake news, “People like hearing their opinions repeated back to them and they think this is news,” said Kilpatrick. There are too many ways for the public to consume news and it is getting confused with opinion writing.

“If you want to be a reporter on politics, make sure you leave the bias behind and ask the tough questions,” she advised.

“It is important to elect those who have values aligning to your own,” said Hagan.

While it can be easy to vote for someone who is similar to ourselves when it comes to race, education or socioeconomic status, “We represent different communities, different walks of life,” Hagan said.

“There is a notion that we’re supposed to vote for someone like you,” Ingram said. This can be used positively to see if those similar to ourselves match our own values, and then choosing a vote.

Kilpatrick, Hagan, Ingram and Poggione all encourage women to get involved with their government and learn to participate. As women, we should be lifting each other up. We should not be a minority in the year of women.