By Cynthia Richie Terrell on November 09, 2015
“I think when I hear that score, it’s kind of sad,” said Mary Lieb, the SGA director of communications.
According to the report, Alabama’s parity has increased six-fold since 1993 when it was ranked 50th.
Representation2020’s annual report measures gender parity in each state’s government on various levels with a gender parity index. The index is ranked out of 100 with higher-level offices weighted more heavily in the score. A state has achieved gender parity at a score of 50.
Representation2020 aims to increase awareness of gender disparity in the U.S. government. According to its website, its goal is, “A Century from Suffrage to Parity.”
Jackie Northrup, the assistant director at the Women and Gender Resource Center, said she admires the spirit of the campaign but doubts the goal will be achieved in time.
“A cultural shift isn’t something where we can snap, and it happens,” Northrup said.
Caleb Hollingsworth, a junior majoring in accounting and finance, said the issue is layered and can’t be boiled down to just men or women in the office.
“A bigger problem is having someone in a position who doesn’t know what they’re representing,” he said. “You don’t want someone who has never taught ruling on education.”
Northrup touched on this topic too and said it’s hard to pin down when parity will be achieved because incumbency power in politics is so influential.
“I think that part of why women don’t run is because women think that other people won’t think they have leadership characteristics necessary based on their credentials,” she said.
Lieb agrees and said she thinks women need more outward support.
“We need more affirmation that women are able to run,” she said. “We’re not always affirmed that we can lead as well as men and become as involved as men can.”
Lieb thinks programs like Model Congress can be incredibly helpful in kick-starting women’s ambition.
“These programs can open up more avenues to get people involved,” she said. “That could be a way of sparking interest.”
Other programs Northrup endorsed were ElectHer, AAUW and Student Leadership Council because they provide specific resources to help women construct campaigns.
People can read the entirety of the report at www.representation2020.com/