Simon: Equal representation in politics benefits everyone
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But we digress.
We wanted to share co-founder Jen Simon's latest column, this one in the Casper Star Tribune. It was included in their package of stellar reporting on the status of women in Wyoming and the progress we've made (or, sometimes, haven't) in the 150 years since suffrage.
If you're not aware of the great reporting they've been doing on Wyoming women, it is well worth your time to read them all. Not sure where to start? Our twitter feed has a good recap.
In the meantime, here are a few key points from the column:
In 1869, Wyoming recognized women’s inherent right to vote and hold office. One hundred-fifty years into women’s suffrage, we celebrate that accomplishment, while at the same time acknowledging that progress has not been entirely linear. As a state, we’ve sometimes taken one step forward and one step back.
And, right now, the Equality State comes up short on equal representation.
She goes on to talk about some of the research that demonstrates why this matters. (If you're not familiar with Kelly Dittmar or CAWP, check them out today! Some of the best research on women in elected office is coming from Professor Dittmar (follow her on twitter, too) and nearly all of the best information is coming from CAWP.)
According to Kelly Dittmar of the Center on American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, “Elected women don’t just shed light on certain issues that might otherwise be ignored; they also contribute perspectives to legislative debates that otherwise might not be heard.”
And she finishes out the column by offering up suggestions about what we can each do to change the status quo:
First, we can work to increase the number of women on appointed boards and commissions so that more women to get involved with pressing community and state issues.
Second, we can help to build acceptance and support for women in the political sphere.
Third, shining a light on structural barriers that disproportionately limit women’s participation — like less access to capital and more unpaid caregiving responsibilities — can help to engage more women in public service.
And stay tuned for an exciting announcement (coming next week!) about how you can directly support women running for office in Wyoming!