Glamour Gives 99 Reasons to Vote in November

September 13, 2010

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Editorial Text

They’re all women! At press time, there were at least 99 female congressional and gubernatorial candidates across the nation. In California, three contenders for top jobs are women. State Representative Nikki Haley, 38, could become one of the youngest governors ever of South Carolina. And in New Mexico and Oklahoma, every major candidate for governor is female.

Why should you vote for a woman over a man? You shouldn’t! You should vote your views, whatever they are. But this year, there’s likely to be a female candidate who shares those views. In the recent past, women running for office tended to be Democrats, but 2010’s crew includes everyone from bleeding-heart liberals to Bill O’Reilly conservatives. The variety is due to the “Palin effect,” says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics. “With Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, we’ve seen a spike in conservative women running.” Other groups are seeing interest too: “There’s been such an awakening for the next generation about why it’s important to have women in office,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, a group that supports pro-choice Democratic women.

And that’s a good thing, because girls–tomorrow’s achievers– should see role models of all political stripes. Yet women make up only 17 percent of the U.S. Congress. “Twenty percent of the Afghan parliament are women,” says Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz). “We really can’t do better than the country that’s been ruled by the Taliban?”

Of course, the only way we’ll ever get more women into office is if more women run. “Get involved in your community,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports anti-abortion candidates. “If you see yourself as a candidate, test it out. Look for a role model, ask her advice.”

And though some women fear they can’t hold office and have a life, Rep. Giffords, whose astronaut husband will blast off in the space shuttle this winter, is proof you can. “It’s challenging,” she says. “But nothing worth accomplishing comes easily.”

{Register to Vote- Don’t Wait Till November!}
Some states’ deadlines are 30 days before an election; go to rockthevote.com. Also, help the 2012 Project (cawp.rutgers.edu) get women of both parties into Congress.

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