2016 is an a strange yet momentous year in politics: One of the most obnoxious celebrities is running for office, but for the first time in American history, a woman has been elected to run for the highest office in the nation.
Whatever anyone thinks about Hillary Clinton, you can’t deny that we’ve come a long way since the suffrage movement that won women the right to vote in 1920.
As recently as 1978, there were no women U.S. senators; now, there are 20. Meanwhile, some states move backwards — 16 states have fewer females serving in local and state legislatures than they did a decade ago in 2005.
According to Vox, men make up more than 80 percent of the members of the House of Representatives are men and 88 percent of governors. NPR reports women make up only 19 percent of all Congress members and less than 25 percent of all state legislators.
Still, if there is anything American citizens can learn from this presidential campaign, we can take away how Clinton’s historic candidacy is changing how women engage in politics.
And we need that.
The truth is, there are numerous benefits that arise from having a woman — maybe any woman — in office.
There are many issues that are unaddressed or poorly represented in politics that need female perspectives ranging from paid family leave, universal child care, and better approaches to laws to combatting issues like sexual assault or harassment.
Fortune revealed that when Kim McMillan was elected as a Democrat to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1994, she was told she could not win because she was a woman. She eventually won, serving six terms and becoming the first female majority leader, expanding pre-kindergarten education in the state.
CNN also reported that evidence shows women are more likely to demonstrate more compassion and empathy in their leadership styles and negotiation skills. Perhaps if there was more equal representation of females in all industries — like business, public policy, and medicine — substantial positive changes could be made in regards to improving healthcare, education, or foreign policy.
The United States Agency for International Development stated: “when 10 [percent] more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3 [percent].”
As technology advances and problem-solving becomes more sophisticated, leadership will need diverse perspectives in order to attain any real progress — that includes women, especially since they make up 51 percent of the world population.
An official presidential candidacy, and hopefully election, is a good start to achieving these dreams.
Do you think that more equal representation of women in leadership positions will finally address the progress that needs to be done? Tweet @issabasco