Why more women are running for office
PADUCAH – October 11th is International Day of the Girl. It’s a day designated by the United Nations to bring awareness and more opportunities to girls around the world.
There are disparities in our own country. In the US, females make up more than half of the population (50.8%). Women are not equally represented in government and while we could focus on many gender inequalities in American life, changing who represents us at every level of government, particularly the top, could have enormous and important ramifications for leveling the playing field.
The election cycle could be the beginning of that change. A record number of women are running for office.
This is not about parties or political positions. It’s about change.
Off in the back roads of Ballard County, Desiree Owen spends most of the year getting ready for duck season.
“I hunt ducks 60 days out of the year,” Owen said.
Meanwhile at a bike store in Paducah, Martha Emmons is running this business with her husband.
One piece of paper is where their common ground lies: the ballot.
Many of the women running for office don’t have a political background. Some of them say, if not them, then who?
“I think our nation is divided more than ever before in our memories. I think that division has made women, maybe even more than men, say okay I’m going to have to do something,” Emmons said.
“It’s not that women have ever shied away from having power, but they just haven’t had the impotence to drive them forward to actually do it,” Owen said
Women from all parties are trying to wedge their way into the political world. In Kentucky, women make up half the population, yet only three elected state officials are female.
“We’ve always been lacking in any kind of power,” Owen said. “You look at the c-suite at the corporate level, we are lacking there as well. ”
You don’t think twice when the room is full of men. “That is one thing we need to be doing better,” Emmons said. “We need both men and women at the table.”
Now more women than ever are asking for a place at the table.
We weren’t able to talk to all of the women running for local office, but we did reach out to several others.
Abigail Barnes is a local attorney who is running for office. She says “I grew up in a family that expected and allowed room for my voice to be heard. We are in a time when women are taking leadership roles in many different areas. It seems natural for us to step up and be the problem solvers that our constituents need. For me, running for office was not about my gender, it was about getting involved in being part of a solution. We live in a time when gender doesn’t have to hold you back from being a leader and offering your hand in the solution.”