Gender Politics, Party Politics

February 28, 2013

American WestI grew up in a small town in Ohio and attended the University of Wyoming. Needless to say, I’m a country girl to the core. Growing up, I was never treated differently than my brothers, and I was always expected to carry my own weight. Somewhere along the road of weekend sporting events, late night studying, and early morning barn chores, I discovered my interest in politics. There my journey began, as a young female conservative about to enter the notoriously liberal-leaning world of college.

Despite Wyoming’s conservative ideology and much to my surprise, the sole University in the state is much like any other public institution: liberal. Tagged as the token Republican woman in most of my political science classes, I learned how to speak up for countless female conservatives whose views have either been ignored or discredited. For years, the Democratic Party has reserved the right to claim the majority of women’s issues. However, as a woman standing on the other side of the aisle, I know this is not the case.

I know firsthand that women are energetic and committed advocates of all sorts of issues. While social issues dominate the media’s attention, I think we are failing to acknowledge that women are far more complex than the existence of their reproductive organs. While these issues are extremely important, it’s crucial to note that women also care about the growing national deficit, gun control legislation, and the economy.

My experience interning with a conservative congresswoman has solidified my stance on gender equality in the Republican Party. While the national dialogue continues to focus on the alleged identity crisis within the GOP, my boss is moving forward and making serious strides for women in politics. It is important for all of us to remember that no party will ever speak for a gender as a whole. We are all in this together, regardless of our political leanings.

Charlotte Yoest, Star Fellow Spring 2013

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