Women Candidates Are Making HER-story
The 2018 election year has seen the largest number of women candidates with over 500 women running in the race for government positions. The primaries began on March 6th with Texas’ congressional and gubernatorial elections where two out of five women running for congress won the primaries for their district. Texas also saw its first openly gay and first Latina sheriff win the democratic gubernatorial primaries meaning she will face Gov. Greg Abbott in August.
With the rise of female candidates the range of diversity within the government has been questioned. Many female candidates have expressed their hope for a more equal government, especially during a presidency where women are severely misrepresented and underrepresented by large.
Marguerite Willis is running in the South Carolina gubernatorial primaries for the Democratic Party. If elected she will be the first democratic female governor in the state and her running partner, Sen. John Scott, is African-American which potentially makes the duo the most diverse gubernatorial candidates in the state.
Women like Willis have been inspired to run in these elections because of current leaders and their ineffectiveness to address the issues they promised. These women have also claimed that their candidacy is largely due in part to the sexist and misogynistic things President Donald Trump has said about women throughout his incumbency.
“I’m tired of politicians who say they’re for something and then don’t follow through,” Willis told “SCNow News”. “And I’m sickened by the hateful, sexist and racist conduct of Donald Trump.”
The increase of women running for political office means more diversity in a primarily white male dominated government. Among the candidates are women making historic strides towards equality in government, including Democratic primary winner of New Mexico Deb Haaland who would become the first Native American woman in Congress. Haaland was a volunteer for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and according to TIME, she wants to restore funds that have been cut from American Indian programs affecting child welfare, social services and educational programs. Also representing New Mexico is Michelle Lujan Grisham who could be the nation’s first Latina democratic governor.
The courage these women have exhibited throughout their campaigns has lead Rep. Terri Sewell, who became the first black woman representing Alabama in Congress back in 2011, to express her anticipation of this “year of the woman.”
“When I was first elected, making my voice heard as a black woman surrounded by older white men was a challenge. This year we’re proving the strength of our voice at the ballot box.”, Sewell told Upworthy in an interview.
Sewell is no longer alone in this race as African-American women have shown up historically in the largest numbers with 590 candidates, 70 of which are in Alabama alone. The overall number of women running reaches at least 575 total for either the House, the Senate, or for governor.
These numbers solely show the amount of women in the race without even expressing the increase in women interested in political positions, which Vox reported was over 34,000 women who reached out to Emily’s List to endorse their candidacy. Many women have shared that their reasons for running are based on a realization that the time for female representation is now and the wait is over.