Paradigm Explosion: Why Women Must Run For Public Office
By Nichole L. Yunk

We must not be ready for a world in which paid maternity leave and child care are standard benefits of employment. We can’t imagine how it would feel to know that convicted rapists and child and spouse abusers face certain penalties. We do not see as effective a foreign policy in which force is not the only strategy. And what about the purse-counts-as-a-carry-on rule on airplanes?

In 2006, women as a group can no longer claim that the reason we do not have our interests protected and served in government is because of the Old Boys’ Club.

After eighty-six years, women are not approaching parity in any political category. Six of 50 governors. Fourteen of the 100 largest U.S. cities have women mayors. In Congress, 13.6 percent is women. The reason we continue to fall short is because women are still not willing to accept women in power.

The automatic validation we give men in everyday life: doctors, lawyers, governors, we make women go the extra mile to achieve, and then we criticize them for being too ambitious. Men need do nothing further to block us from succeeding; we can handle it from here.

We are not on a date. The business of public policy is critical to us all. The day women do not apologize about their opinions, when women run for office and vote for women candidates because it just makes sense, the paradigm of power will dramatically shift and it will happen without feminism to blame.

If you were the little girl who dreamed of being the first female president, you can run for school board or city council now. If you are an attorney, place a judicial seat in your sights. If you are in student government, volunteer or intern with a woman elected official (it is easier than you think). If you are not “into” politics but are reading this anyway, encourage a friend who is, and, most importantly, give women candidates a chance.

Do what it takes to move closer to the day when women have our own backs, and the world we couldn’t imagine is a reality.

Nichole Yunk is the executive director of Emerge Wisconsin, an organization that identifies, educates, and supports Democratic women to run for elected office.

Last edited by bs.   Page last modified on August 25, 2006

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