It’s election season and early voting is available in most states. As I continue my life’s work to mentor women and guide each to achieve her own personal “High Heeled Success,” I’m hearing about more and more women running for office and engaging in the political process. This inspires me!
This year is the 97th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage – women’s right to vote in the United States of America. Women, it has not been that long, which is why it’s no surprise that women hold roughly 20 percent of elected positions at the federal, state and local levels. And now, women are running for public office in record numbers.
Politics and women in public office is a mirror of the workplace and the rest of society. There is definitely a gender bias when women run for office. Women are not asked as frequently as men if they would consider taking on the challenge. Women tend to think they’re not qualified enough, which is a problem men rarely have. It’s harder for women to raise the funds needed to run a campaign. These issues are the same, whether we’re talking about politics or the workplace.
Just as you face challenges in the workplace, you will experience similar challenges as you take on the political process. Remember, however, the risks are worth the rewards. At any given time, reassess your risk for seeking a political appointment or running for election. In other words, what do you have to lose?
Please don’t be afraid of rocking the boat. Remember, the women rocking the boat nearly 100 years ago were the ones who earned us the right to vote in this country. When you stand up for yourself in traditionally male-dominated groups, you run the risk of being perceived as overbearing or nasty. As long as you assess your risk and think it all through, you’ll be in good shape.
I also encourage you to support each other in political endeavors. Men certainly support each other and help each other all the time. Just like in the workplace, we need to do also do that in the political realm.
For example, help amplify other women and lift them up. When another woman puts an idea out there by writing an op-ed or communicating with a political group, join the conversation and share your thoughts. Just by responding, you validate her and make sure our place at the table doesn’t get lost.
Just like in the workplace, you need to call out blatant sexism in the political arena. Women will be judged by different standards when they are running for office or succeeding in the workplace. Be aware of it and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Being aware of these challenges is important, yet you still need to be both collaborative and competitive at the same time. We can’t get anything done without learning how to do both.
To all the women running for office right now, I’m inspired by you and I’m proud of you. In some ways, you’re taking on the most difficult glass ceiling to break. I’m with you. Now, don’t forget to vote on November 7 and let your voice be heard!
If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you. Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.