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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Columns

Women have made an impact this election


Don’t speak too loud. Don’t eat too much. Don’t act too boldly.

Our society tells women to be small. Confident, intelligent women are told they’re cold and bossy. Confident, intelligent men are praised and paid more.

Now, an under-qualified rich man who openly bragged about grabbing women by their genitals ran for president. And won.

But women in the U.S. have been accomplishing amazing feats, chiseling away at the glass ceiling. A racist, intolerant man may have won the oval office over a dedicated, public servant in a kick-ass pantsuit, but we — the people of the United States — still had many victories during the same election cycle.

Diverse backgrounds

Hillary Clinton’s campaign laid the groundwork for women across the nation while Donald Trump’s views provided proof that racism and sexism were very much alive.

Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada was elected the first Latina senator in U.S. history. As a former attorney general and granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, she brings the senate a new point of view, especially in a time of extreme contention over the idea of a wall on the nation’s southern border.

Former refugee, mother and Muslim Ilhan Omar has just made history as the first Somali-American legislator in the United States. Omar, also the executive director of Women Organizing Women Network, won the Minnesota House seat with more than 80 percent of the vote. She can start more informed conversations about what it means to be a refugee and a Muslim in this country, and she can help move our country forward.

Different points of view

The under-representation of women in politics is damaging to this country. The rhetoric that encourages people to ignore the glaring issue with a gender imbalance on the hill, as well as throughout local politics, also increasingly prevailed during the 2016 election cycle. Despite hurdles, women across the nation won elections.

Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq war after the helicopter she piloted was shot down, took one of the Illinois Senate seats Nov. 8. She takes the title as the first female senator who has served a combat role in the Army, and as the first Thai-American senator.

It’s still common for women in politics to be belittled, and during one of the Illinois debates, Duckworth was mocked by the incumbent senator, Mark Kirk, over her ethnicity. Yet, Duckworth has proven her strength in her experience in the military and public service history, and composure during a campaign marked by bullying.

Kate Brown is the first open member of the LGBTQ community to be elected as a governor in the United States. Brown, elected in Oregon, has vowed to fight against discrimination. With a Vice President-elect who has shown himself to be a danger to the LGBTQ community, Brown can be an important player against his type of rhetoric and ignorance.

For  women in today’s politics, space was not readily provided. In a society that tells them to be small, these women forged their own path and demanded a voice in a conversation often dominated by loud men. They rose to become the larger-than-life role models we need.

Creative director Leah Nash is a public relations senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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