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Women in Politics

When a person hears the word, “politics” a lot of things come to mind. Government. Corruption. Issues. Bills. Washington. Voting. Affairs. Men. Suits. One doesn’t typically think of a female starting a protest, pushing issues, or fighting for justice. I think that’s what makes it exciting when you do hear about a women running for office, or getting involved in the upcoming election.
To be honest, I was never one to like any topic that had to do with something political. It never interested me who was running for what and the fact that people argued for hours about issues just gave me a headache. I shouldn’t have to take three Advil to have a conversation about the president. That all changed this past summer. I received an email about a job opening with a very vague description. All I understood was that I would be registering voters. I thought that would be simple enough. It’s nonpartisan and I was just leaving my door-to-door sales internship, which made me excellent at approaching strangers and getting them to have a conversation with me. I was expecting a no-brainer job experience.
What I later found out, when I drove down to the two-day training in Columbus, was that they wanted me to start a political student movement, which entailed organizing a student coalition. The job involves me knowing issues and educating other people about the election. When I started training, I couldn’t have told you the difference between the left and right views. How did I get this job? They must have seen something in me that made them invest money in trusting that I could get educated on the issues at hand and organize a team behind me.
I entered a whole new world. The election is so close I had to get up to speed and fast. So I went to another girl I knew who was already politically involved since freshman year. She was always talking about different political organizations on campus. I knew she’d help me out.
If you attend Ohio University and are involved in the political scene here you probably have either met or heard of Jessica Newton, the current secretary of College Democrats, and an awesome contact to have.
“Politics affect everyone whether a person is involved, or not and it’s really important to stand up for my beliefs,” stated Newton when I asked what drove her to be active in the upcoming political campaign. “I decided to take it in my own hands and become constantly politically involved.”
What was it that initially sucked a person into wanting to donate their time though?
“I remember in high school, I was politically involved mildly. I started going door-to-door in college and I became more passionate. [I use it as] my outlet on how I can make a difference in the world” Newton told me.
So I told her everything that was on my plate with this election and she knew of every important event I needed to be aware of. Next thing I know, I’m on a bus with former governor Ted Strickland going to watch him speak at a press conference. Jessica stood between Strickland and Pat Lang, who is running for congress in the 15th Congressional District, completely holding her own. I was so impressed. This young woman was standing between two highly educated and well-known politicians, giving a speech and answering questions from the media like it was second nature to her.
“There are definitely more men in politics than women. I believe there is a progression of more women getting involved. It was never something I thought I couldn’t do. I think there are in general a lot more barriers for women to break down than men do,” Newton told me about how she viewed women breaking into politics.
Soon after seeing Strickland, Joe Biden came to visit Athens and now it’s me dragging my roommate there and I’m wearing festive flag clothing, chanting with other members of the community. I would probably never have done that a few months back. Politics can be exciting I found out. It surprises me the lack of care people on campus have for them. They’re more likely to get upset about our party school rank dropping than realize our ancestors sacrificed so much just so we could walk into a room and mark names down a piece of paper. It is a small act that means and does so much.
“Women definitely need to care because there are men making decisions in Washington that will affect their lives. Women should not tolerate unequal pay. I do not believe that being a woman should be a preexisting condition. Even non-women related issues affect you as well,” Newton said when she shared why women should care about politics.
Being an active Democrat she added, “If Obama is reelected I see a progression of women being involved because it does directly affect them. I believe that the policies implemented by the Obama administration will help with the general wellbeing of women.”
As a woman who used to not know anything about politics, I strongly encourage other women to at least get educated and register before it’s too late. We have a huge election right around the corner that has to do with jobs, women’s rights and health care. Women need to participate. The times have obviously changed and who knows, maybe in four years we’ll finally have a woman president and a first man.

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