by Cindy Pena
The women’s right to vote amendment was passed and implemented almost 100 years ago. The fight to get this passed was definitely not an easy one. It required time, determination and most importantly, unity. Unity with all women to fight for what they deserved; it was a fight for political representation.
However, until this day, women are still extremely underrepresented in politics. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, nationally, women make up 19.6 percent of the 535 seats in Congress: 21 percent of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and 19.3 percent of the 435 seats in the House.
In 2016, Connecticut was listed as one of the top states for women in politics with 28 percent of elected state officials being women and 53 of female elected officials in the state legislature, according to CT Post. InsideGov used information from the National Conference of State Legislatures and ranked Connecticut the fifteenth highest state of women in elected office. Although this is a good sign, there is still room for improvement.
The underrepresentation of women in politics means laws pertaining to women’s rights, like paid family and medical leave, are created mostly by men. That needs to change. We need more women to enter the political arena to not only to represent womens issues, but also to inspire the younger generation to do so as well.
Mayor of New Britain Erin Stewart is one woman leader breaking that mold. Stewart is the 40th mayor of New Britain and is the youngest mayor in the United States. She went to New Britain High School and is a Central Connecticut State University alumna. She is also a role model to women and girls in New Britain who may have political aspirations.
Her impact in New Britain is tremendous. She has revitalized the New Britain area, improved the economic state of New Britain, and worked with community members, like CCSU, to better New Britain. She is just one local example of a woman flourishing in the political arena, and I know there are more around the U.S.
Ultimately, we need more women like Erin Stewart to not only motivate women, but create future political leaders. We have made substantial progress since 1920 when the 19th Amendment was passed, but unfortunately not enough. So go vote, talk to your congressperson, or even run for office; let your voice be heard.
As Michelle Obama once stated, “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”