Female lawmakers make bipartisan push for more women in politics at All In Together gala
© Stefani Reynolds

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle gathered at the Newseum on Wednesday evening to celebrate the fifth anniversary of All In Together (AIT), a group focused on increasing women’s participation in political life.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana BashDana BashMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Charlize Theron: We didn't want the politics to overshadow 'Bombshell' Human Rights Campaign head pushes back against idea that Buttigieg's sexuality is a barrier among black voters MORE emceed the gala, where Sens. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Female lawmakers make bipartisan push for more women in politics at All In Together gala Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey endorses Biden MORE (R-Neb.) and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump On The Money: Fed faces crossroads as it weighs third rate cut | Dem presses Mnuchin on 'alleged rampant corruption' | Boeing chief faces anger at hearing | Trouble for House deal on Ex-Im Bank Democrats renew push for contractor back pay from government shutdown MORE (D-Minn.) spoke in their capacity as senatorial co-chairwomen of the event. Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse to hold markup Wednesday on marijuana decriminalization bill US must lead the charge on global reproductive rights — not stand in the way Congress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans MORE (D-Calif) and Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyTrump administration unveils new plan for notifying public on 2020 election interference Overnight Health Care: House Dems clash over Pelosi drug pricing bill | Senate blocks effort to roll back Trump ObamaCare moves | Number of uninsured children rises House Democrats clash over Pelosi's drug pricing bill MORE (D-Fla.) participated in a panel discussion with Bash.

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“Everyone in this room knows that women make the world work. We lead in the boardroom, we run small businesses, and we serve in Congress in record numbers,” Fischer said. “Women have made great progress, but we do have more work to do. We need to encourage other women to step up — it’s not just step forward, it’s step up — to get involved in the political process.”

During her speech, Smith called for greater engagement in civic life.

“I want you to know that democracy only works if we participate. Democracy on autopilot goes in the ditch,” Smith said. “Your country and your community needs you in any way that you choose to serve that role, that most precious role of democracy, which is to participate.”

Lauren Leader, the group’s co-founder and CEO, highlighted the wave of women elected during the 2018 midterms and the female activists who helped send them to Congress, calling it a sign of progress over the course of AIT’s first five years.

Leader told The Hill that when the organization launched, “it was a different world when it came to women’s political participation.”

“We could never have imagined some of the highs and lows over the last five years in terms of women’s leadership,” Leader said. “Like all women’s organizations, we dream of closing some of these big gender gaps."

She cited figures showing the U.S. is 98th in the world in terms of women’s political participation.

"We were 54th when we started, and we’d like to see those numbers climb back up,” Leader said.

She added that Congress, where each chamber is only 25 percent female, has yet to take up many of the most important issues that affect women.

“I’d like to see more issues that matter to a plurality of women actually progress — things like family leave and child care and equal pay, issues that are not partisan but have not progressed,” Leader said.

Bash said that having more women in Congress might lead to greater bipartisanship and cooperation in order to take action on the issues that matter to women.

“In my experience, just watching and reporting on the women [in Congress], it is amazing how much more women can get done,” Bash said. “We’re multitaskers, and we don’t have time to deal with you-know-what. We sit down, roll up our sleeves, and get stuff done.” 

Fischer echoed the bipartisan aspect.

“I think it’s always important to support other women,” Fischer said in an interview with The Hill. “I think it’s important to show that we do work in a bipartisan way.”