The power of electing women at the state and local level

The power of electing women at the state and local level
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A fire has been ignited among women in this country. We saw it in the hours, days, weeks and months after the 2016 election. Women have organized together, protested together and now they are running in record numbers together. In 2018, almost two years after the election of President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE and on the precipice of the most consequential midterm election of our time, we are seeing women support women like never before.

The women candidates running for office this year are talking about issues that women care about, like reproductive rights, health care, justice and fair wages. And in the progressive activist ecosystem, which has absorbed millions of women since the election, legacy organizations and new grassroots groups alike are working together to make sure women are heard in November. 


Some of the most consequential elections this year, and the ones that people should care about the most, are ones that are flying under the radar nationally. State legislatures are responsible for laws that govern and impact people’s everyday lives — women’s lives.

Republicans currently control both legislative chambers in 31 states. This has led to a wide variety of harmful policies ranging from voter suppression to education budget cuts and more. Some of the worst of these legislatures are passing laws that threaten a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions, blatantly undermining constitutional protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade

It is no coincidence that laws threatening women’s rights pass when only 25 percent of state legislators nationwide are women, despite women comprising roughly half of the population in every state and being a majority of voters. When a legislative body does not look like the people it is intended to represent, its priorities differ from, or even directly contradict, those that the general population cares about.

Democratic women lawmakers are stronger, more consistent advocates for policies that affect women and families, including laws to guarantee fair pay, ensure access to quality health care, and expand paid leave. We are also coming together to show that when women support women, whether as candidates, organizational partners, or friends, we have the power to make great change. It’s time to amplify support for candidates that will fight for women, and create opportunities for everyone to get involved, whether you are a veteran activist or new to the scene. 

There's been a lot of talk this year about a “blue wave” or a “pink wave,” but we are determined to make it a sea change. This shift will extend beyond congressional races into critical state legislative seats. State legislators are the leaders of tomorrow, and progressive activists are hard at work supporting Democratic women running up and down ballots across the country. This November, we have the opportunity to elect more women than ever before to political office. By supporting women everywhere, we will make sure it happens.

Stephanie Schriock is president of EMILY's List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, recruiting and training candidates as well as turning out women voters.  

Rita Bosworth is the founder and executive director of the Sister District Project, a women-led grassroots group that organizes volunteers to elect Democrats to state legislatures.