Our Chicago: Women in politics

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CHICAGO (WLS) — In the 1970s, former Tennessee State Senator Anna Belle Clement O’Brien ran for office on the slogan “a woman’s place is in the House and the Senate too.”

So where do things stand nearly 50 years later? Women hold 28.2% of the seats in Congress, according to the Center For American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Across the 50 states, only 12 have female governors.

As Women’s History Month gets underway, ABC7 Chicago is looking at women in politics and the reasons more aren’t in local, state and federal government.

As Women’s History Month gets underway, AB7 Chicago is looking at women in politics and the reasons more aren’t in local, state and federal government.

Illinois Former Deputy Governor for Health and Human Services Sol Flores ran for Congress in 2018. She says women have made progress, but more needs to be done.

“Have we reached our goals? Absolutely not,” Flores said. “We need parity. Half of the country is women, half of the seats should be held by women.”

Flores explained that cities and communities are better when there there is diverse representation.

She added there are a number of reasons why more women aren’t running and why they aren’t at the table.

“I think there’s a lot of choices and sacrifices that women are forced to make that men aren’t normally,” Flores said. “First and foremost, head of the household, right? Women make choices around when to have children, when to pursue their careers. If they’re the breadwinners in their household those are sacrifices often that they have to make. It’s expensive to run for office. It’s a sacrifice.”

When asked what advice she wishes she would have known before running for Congress, she offered advice to young women.

“This is what I say to young women when they ask me, now it’s not great grammar, but I’d say, ‘Be less scared, faster,'” she said. “Dive in and get out of your own way. At my ripe old age now, there are very little things that embarrass me. I don’t have time for embarrassment or guilt. I have time for understanding, connection, reflection and let’s move on. Let’s get things done.”

Maria Doughty, is the President and CEO of the Chicago Network, an organization committed to empowering all women to lead. The organization also helps women who are considering to run for office.

“It’s about relationships, it’s about being there for each other,” Doughty said. “Finding those characteristics in each other to amplify. And we have a number of women who hold political office in the Network. We’re a non-partisan organization.”

As Women’s History Month gets underway, AB7 Chicago is looking at women in politics and the reasons more aren’t in local, state and federal government.

“You need somebody that you can trust,” she added. “You’re not in it alone. As a woman in politics, you are representing a constituent base. Yes, you have your own viewpoints, but you are actually representing a group. And so it’s very, very important that you’re willing to listen, that you’re willing to work, collaborate with others. You’re willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to be able to do the work that’s necessary to support the community in which you’re serving.”

For more information on The Chicago Network, click here.

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Post source: Abc7chicago

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