Wednesday, November 14, 2012
There's No Title IX in Politics
There was plenty going on at the Sister Giant conference this past weekend and one of many resonating points for me was this Jane Lynch quote:
"If we don't take a seat at the table -
we're probably on the menu"
Yes I know, large font, very dramatic, but did it get your attention? It got mine. We women can talk about issues or we can be a part of the solutions. I prefer solving problems. No worries - there will still be time to drink wine.
A consistent Sister Giant theme was in order to create balance on what issues are being addressed by our elected officials, how they are being addressed and why they are being addressed, more woman must be involved in the discussions, the debates and most importantly - the votes! It's not a man problem that they don't understand the feminine perspective, it's a woman problem that not enough of us are engaged in the process. Statistically, woman are elected to office at the same rate as men . . . but sadly, way less women run for office.
Ladies - we can come up with all kinds of excuses for why we don't run - the one that rises to the top for me and probably many of you is: politics are mean and nasty! I'd rather go volunteer somewhere with other women, where everyone will be nice and smile. We feel good about giving our time and perhaps some money, we're glad to see each other and then go home without watching something awful about us on the nightly news. You know, nice.
Well the tenor and tone of a campaign or political debate is exactly my point. If more women run smart campaigns and refuse to play in the gutter, refuse to put on the cliche armor and head into battle, perhaps some day "dirty politics" will be a phrase from the past. Perhaps sometime soon, there will be a 50-50 gender percentage at the state and federal level. As it stands now, even after a record year for woman winning nation wide, we are only 20% of the total seats at the table - but woman are 51% of the population! We can change how a campaign is run and we can change what is being addressed, but we can't do it from our couch.
I've been the idealist saying, gender doesn't matter, beliefs and thoughts do. To some extent, that's true as all woman don't agree on all issues, but when it comes to issues that directly relate to woman and children, woman are much more likely to agree or at the very least engage in a discussion. Maybe it's the womb factor.
We need balance in all things and our politics should be no different. We've had Title IX in our schools for over 40 years so girls would be given equal chances to play competitive sports. Well in the BIG game, we're not going to be given a Varsity Girl's Politics Team - we're going to have to play on the co-ed team. We're going to have to run savvy campaigns, not to beat someone else, but to earn the votes of citizens who believe in what we will do if they trust us.
I for one am thinking seriously about how to engage my skills, heart and mind to influence change rather than watch it, hope for it and at times look away from it.
Think of the best women you know . . .
Now imagine them with the "audacity to wield power"- M. Williamson
Let's work to get more woman at the table. Won't that be nice?
I hope you will join me at: http://www.facebook.com/CoachWSolutions