From celebrating the women in your life who inspire you to advocating for the yearly theme — #BalanceIsBetter in 2019 — March 8th is celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day. As a school that prides itself on its feminist values, Presentation High School would like to honor this important day by celebrating the recent surge of women in politics. The Voice took a look into the recent 2018 midterm election and the upcoming 2020 presidential election. This recent 2018 election was groundbreaking in that it brought a new cast of women to the forefront of politics.
Marsha Blackburn is the first woman senator to ever be elected in Tennessee. Blackburn is a member of the Republican party, known for her conservative politics, and has been coined one of the most conservative politicians currently in government.
Sharice Davids was elected in the 2018 election as a Kansas Representative in the House. Davids is a Democrat, and the second Native-American to be elected to Congress, but the first Native-American woman to be elected with Rep. Deb Haaland, as well as the first openly gay member of Congress.
Kirsten Gillibrand is one of the few women running for the 2020 presidential election. Like Sinema, Gillibrand is a centrist Democrat candidate. Gillibrand generally believes in more fiscally conservative policies, but has grown to develop more liberal views since 2018 and is generally leans liberal on social issues.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Puerto-Rican New York senator from the Bronx, and has gained attention as the youngest woman to ever be in Congress. Likely because of her age, Ocasio-Cortez has a large social media presence, even going as far as to post her skincare routine on her Instagram one day. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is often described as following in the footsteps of Bernie Sanders as a new democratic socialist in our country’s Congress, endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America. Ocasio-Cortez favors highly progressive policies, looking to instill some radical ideas into our country’s legislation.
Ilhan Omar was elected as a Minnesota senator in 2018 election. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress, and one of the first Muslim women elected in 2018, along with Rashida Tlaib. Like Ocasio-Cortez, Omar identifies herself as Democratic socialist and leans far left on all of her politics thus far. Omar is also similar to Ocasio-Cortez in that she is known on social media and with the younger generation, having been featured in a Maroon 5 music video. Furthermore, Omar is also exploring herself outside of politics by writing a memoir about her life, which she announced in January of 2019.
Ayanna Pressley is a Massachusetts Representative in the House, elected in the 2018 election. She is the first black woman from Massachusetts to be elected to Congress. Pressley is open about her past as a sexual abuse survivor, and considers herself an advocate for survivors of trauma both politically and outside of politics. Pressley is a Democratic representative who strongly opposes the current administration.
Kyrsten Sinema is the first ever openly bisexual senator, elected in 2019 as an Arizona senator. Sinema falls under the label of Democrat, but her politics are generally known for falling more into centrist views.
There is no doubt that politics has been opening up to allow women a voice, particularly focusing on allowing women from marginalized communities a voice. So far, six women have announced their campaign for the 2020 presidency, including Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren and, again, Kirsten Gillibrand. That being said, there is also no doubt that the U.S. has a long way to in terms of truly allowing for female representation in politics, as a far lower number of women are in politics than are in the U.S. Consider the countries that have already had women lead them: Angela Merkel in Germany, Kim Campbell in Canada, Khaleda Zia in Bangladesh and more. It is possible to celebrate the achievements of all of these women while also acknowledging there is still a ways-to-go in terms of women in politics, providing the perfect evidence for the necessity of a day dedicated to women.