In case you missed it, I was a guest writer on Huffington Post recently with an article titled, We Need More Moms in Government. Here’s How to Get Them. In that article, I talked about my own experience running while pregnant and the barriers faced by many moms, including the inordinate amount of fundraising necessary to run a successful campaign. As I stated in the article, “Effective fundraising requires two things women are less likely than men to have: an established network of donors and lots of free time.” I further
The most effective way to reduce the outsize role of money in politics would be to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which gave corporations ― and their money ― the right to “free speech.” Another solution would be to increase regulations around campaign financing, and offer more public money for those who want to run for office.
In addition to the challenges that fundraising poses in getting more moms in office, I wrote about the blatant and subtle sexism and conscious and unconscious biases that are still prevalent in politics, such as the fact that women are still judged by their appearance more than men and that “women without children are seen as ambitious and cold, while mothers like me are told to concentrate on our children. And regardless of parental status, women in power appear threatening — to both men and women.” Further, the lack of adequate and affordable child care can be a barrier for moms running for office and serving in office.
I mentioned several role models, including Senator Tammy Duckworth in the US and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand. But as I noted, “having a role model is not the same thing as having resources. We need structural and cultural change if we’re going to get moms into politics and keep them there.”
We’re on the eve of a new “Year of the Woman,” and many of them will also be mothers. To ensure that this revolution doesn’t fizzle, we need to have more resources and support services for moms to run and, importantly, for moms to serve. That’s why I created this site, Parenting in Politics, so that moms—and dads—can have a resource for balancing their parenting with their public service.
There’s only one last thing to do—make sure you vote in every election!