There’s a lot that’s been done by and for women and girls, but there’s still plenty to do. That's why our President & Founder, Dr. Anne Moses, is off to the White House for The United State of Women Summit. The #StateofWomen Summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and how we’re going to take action moving forward. Covering key gender equality issues - including women in politics - we’ll make a powerful difference in our collective future.
In this interview with Dr. Moses she shares her thoughts on why now is the time for women and girls to declare their ambition to run for office.
Why is now the time for women to claim their political power?
For the first time in history, a women is the Presidential nominee for a major political party. This is an extraordinary accomplishment, but we have to capitalize on it! Women still hold only 22% of the 500,000 elective offices across the US. That means we still need 140,000 more women in office at every level to achieve gender parity. And research suggests it will be more than 100 years before that happens.
Why does this matter? Because women bring a different set of perspectives and life experiences than men. A functional democracy is predicated on having the diversity of the populace reflected in our government because it makes for better policies.
Close your eyes, and imagine if half of every single legislative body in America had an equal number of women and men. Half your City Council, half your state legislature, half of Congress, half the Mayors and Governors and Justices across the United States were all women. What kinds of policies would we be seeing? What would the nature and tenor of the discussions be like? Women change both the nature of what gets debated and discussed and how those debates and discussions happen.
What message do you want to convey to women at #stateofwomen? And if they can walk away inspired to take action, what is that action?
Every single issue that is being discussed at the United State of Women Summit could be addressed legislatively. And that will only happen when we have gender parity at every level of political leadership in this country. Wage equality, paid parental leave, reproductive rights, violence against women - all of these issues have legislative solutions. Sure, men can set forth those policy proposals too, and so many elected men are great allies in the fight for these issues. But because they don't have the same set of life perspectives as women do, they are often not the leaders on these issues.
Take for example, sexual assault on college campus. As a young woman in college two decades ago, I saw countless women who experienced what we then called 'date rape' (as if there is some special subset of rape, that is less rape-y). How did we handle it? We warned each other about which guys to stay away from. There quite literally was no recourse. Now, thanks to women like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill, who had the same experiences, there is pending legislation to address this problem. You want to make change? Get elected.
If I could inspire every woman - and especially every young woman - at the summit to walk away energized to do one thing, I would want her to run for office. Take the lead on whatever policy issue matters most to you, run for office, and fix the problems you see in your communities!
As the founder/ED what does it mean to you personally to be attending the summit? What does it mean for IGNITE?
I am so thrilled to be attending the Summit, mostly because I think it's an extraordinary opportunity to broadcast to young women that political power is the way to make change. To that end, IGNITE is elated to be working with Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, on our social media campaign #DeclareYourAmbition.
We want 140,000 women across the US to pledge that they intend to run for office or encourage a young woman to run. 140,000 more women in office - we can do it, and the time is now!