Streams

Want to Break the Glass Ceiling? Give Young Women a Running Start

Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Reshma Saujani

USA Today had a troubling piece this week reporting that the outcome of the 2010 midterms could lead to the biggest reduction of female representation in Congress in over three decades.

And it’s not like female representation in Congress is great right now. Women make up 17 percent of the members of Congress, ranking the United States 68th internationally in women’s political representation.

If the midterms prove to be a setback for Democratic women in Congress, it may give progressives an opportunity. We can surpass the abysmal 17 percent and break the glass ceiling once and for all by encouraging women to run earlier in their careers. According to the White House Project, in the 20th century, twelve of the nineteen presidents were thirty-five years or younger when they were elected to their first office.

To do this we must find, recruit and groom progressive young women. We will need to build recruiting organizations that cultivate aspiring female leaders when they are in high school and college. We will have to nurture and mentor young female candidates who lose their first local, state or federal race and empower them not to get discouraged and to continue to strive for elected office.

What progressives cannot do is let Sarah Palin’s Mama Grizzlies define what the female politician looks and sounds like in the 21st century.  This country is hungry for female leadership, and as women continue to be the majority of voters, we must take the opportunity to paint our nation pink.

 

Reshma Saujani ran an unsuccessful campaign in the Democratic primary against Rep. Carolyn Maloney in New York's 14th district, which covers Manhattan and Western Queens. A community activist and a legal scholar, she is a graduate of the University of Illinois, received her Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and her JD from Yale Law School.

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Comments [4]

oscar from ny

This is a perfect example of what we deal everyday..bull crap, ..I see woman doing better than males everyday..obviously not in politics because these old homo phobes sexulas hate everything,.."(specially now that they sucking n everything like a baby bottle)".. hey ladies its not that hard to beat one of these old farts..trust me ladies..those old men there have the goverment hostaged because they have nothing else to do..they're like bed bugs..they just get up to suck on the ppl

Oct. 11 2010 06:18 PM

"To do this we must find, recruit and groom progressive young women."

If you ask me, this approach does more harm than good. No young woman should be groomed for or recruited to any job, be it politics or the life of a 50's housewife. Palin's Mama Grizzlies serve as proof that even on the far right there is no glass ceiling in politics. Sure only 17 percent of congress is female, that's because the glass ceiling has just recently been broken. Have some patience and you will find that no grooming is necessary, because no one is holding these young women back.

Oct. 10 2010 03:05 PM

This is self-serving, self-justifying nonsense on stilts. If the author cared one whit about keeping progressive women in Congress, she would have devoted the one skill she has amply demonstrated -- raising funds from her well-heeled Wall Street special interest backers -- to support vulnerable female incumbents in the Democratic majority in Congress, rather than sucking millions of dollars out of Democratic donors in her own self-indulgent, increasingly desperate vanity candidacy that failed to pull even one out of five Democratic voters despite blowing $1.5 million at a ridiculous pace of about $250 per measly vote.

Oct. 07 2010 10:47 PM
Karol from NYC

I'm not entirely clear on this:

"If the midterms prove to be a setback for Democratic women in Congress, it may give progressives an opportunity."

How, exactly? Do you really believe candidates even further to the left can win in places where the Republicans are poised to take Democratic seats?

"We can surpass the abysmal 17 percent and break the glass ceiling once and for all by encouraging women to run earlier in their careers."

Why do you believe younger women, with less life experience, would have a better chance at being elected?

Oct. 07 2010 12:32 AM

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