I was listening to the radio this morning, and apparently today August 26, 1920 was the date in history on which women got the right to vote. Yay for voting!!!! (you should try it) The radio talk show host talked for a bit about the numbers of women who vote, and according to them, women vote more than men do. Then they started talking about the very small number of black women who run and are elected to office. As they were talking, I kept thinking that, in my experience, the numbers of women, in general, who run for public office are very, very low, especially in relation to the large numbers in which women vote.
I, at 24 and 25 have been asked by my county political party to attend candidate trainings so that I can go ahead and be in the pipeline to run in the future. I know numerous other women in North Carolina who have been asked to run for higher office; be it on a city or county level, or on a state or national level. And I know that these women refuse time and time again. And often, when an older women wants to retire from office, there aren’t any qualified women to take her place, and that’s sad.
Sometimes women refuse to run for monetary reasons, they work and can’t afford to quit or they can’t afford childcare, or sometimes they simply can’t afford the campaign. Sometimes potential female candidates site the stress of the campaign trail, or the ugliness of campaigning. Sometimes, potential candidates don’t want to put their life under the public’s microscope.
However, the excuse that I have heard most often for why women don’t run for office is that they don’t want to take the time away from their families. And every time I hear that, I roll my eyes and shake my head. I HATE this excuse. How often do men worry about being away from their families when working or bettering themselves? I’d bet that generally men don’t worry very much about being away from their families. Men understand that the better they are, the better their families are. And I get frustrated that women continue to put themselves in the back seat and allow men to take the drivers seat in politics and determine all of our destinies.