As RepresentWomen reflects on the Beyond Winner Take All Conference (hosted by the Ash Center) a week later, we remember that progress in women's representation is slow going. This week's Weekend Reading highlights the importance of women in politics, and why our democracy falls short when we let them down.
The First Black Woman to Run for President
This article from KCRA news channel 3 highlights Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to become a member of U.S. Congress and to run for president. She was a fearless leader who broke barriers throughout her career. In 1946 she graduated from Brooklyn College and began a career in teaching. She had a passion for helping others, which inspired her to run for political office. She survived three assassination attempts during her presidential run, yet she did not let that stop her. "Unbought and unbossed" was her motto.
“Shirley Chisholm had a spirit unlike any other. She was a woman of many firsts: the first Black woman to be elected into Congress and the first Black woman to run for president.”
“Chisholm said in a previous interview Barbados was where she gained the ‘spirit and spunk’ to challenge the status quo – characteristics she would carry for the rest of her life...
In 1972, Chisholm announced she was running for president – becoming the first woman and African American to seek a major party’s nomination...
In a previous interview, one reporter questioned whether she believed America was ready for a president that was both Black and a woman...
I think what is even more important than whether or not America is ready for me as a president is to begin to prepare America for the fact that it is time that other people in America besides white males run for the highest office of this flag," Chisholm said. "It’s a preparation for the atmosphere to bring about the realization that someday Blacks will lead this country…that someday women will lead this country. That’s what this is all about."
Nikki Haley is Running for President
In her first campaign advertisement, Haley stared directly into the camera to say, "You should know this about me: I don't put up with bullies, and when you kick back it hurts them more if you're wearing heels."
Trump has his first challenger for 2024. Former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley has tossed her name into the race for President of the United States. The American politician will be competing for the Republican nomination. No stranger to national service, Haley, who is of Indian decent, served as the U.S. Ambassador the United Nations under the Trump Administration. Her candidacy signifies another giant leap forward for women of color.
On paper, Nikki Haley should be a top-tier contender in the 2024 Republican primary. She’s a successful former governor from an important, early primary state. She has an impressive personal backstory, solid foreign policy chops, and great candidate skills, too. This used to be an extremely attractive package for GOP primary voters.
Used to be.
But not anymore.
Instead, Haley’s candidacy represents the best of the “meh” middle tier of 2024 candidates, which for now includes the notional campaigns of Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and Chris Christie. No one is really asking any of those guys to run.
A recent poll published by The Bulwark and conducted by GOP polling firm North Star Opinion Research found similar results. Haley had a decent favorability/unfavorability rating–47 percent fav and only 9 percent unfav among likely Republican primary voters.
But on a 10-way ballot test, Haley only got 4 percent of the vote compared to DeSantis’s 39 percent and Trump’s 28 percent. It’s not that at least half of the respondents didn’t like her—they did.
The problem is they didn’t like her enough to cast their vote for her.
Teenage Girls Are Overwhelmed With Violence and Trauma
Young people are in crisis. According to CDC research, across the country, teenage girls are increasingly "engulfed in a growing wave of violence and trauma."
According to experts, a multitude of factors are at play, but what remains evident is that across the spectrum, teenage girls are suffering. Importantly, those girls which are a part of minority groups are bearing the brunt of these struggles.
Nearly 1 in 3 high school girls reported in 2021 that they seriously considered suicide — up nearly 60 percent from a decade ago — according to new findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 15 percent of teen girls said they were forced to have sex, an increase of 27 percent over two years and the first increase since the CDC began tracking it...
Sharon Hoover, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and co-director of the National Center for School Mental Health, said she was struck by “the magnitude of the increases and the gender difference...”
P.S. If you want to hear about solutions to women's underrepresentation, register for the 2023 Democracy Solutions Summit! You will hear from our expert speakers, who just happen to be women, on what actions we can take to strengthen our democracy. Register here.