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How Female Candidates Are Making Political History


Constance Anastopoulo didn’t need another job. She’d found her passion at the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina, where she taught Ethics and Insurance. She loved standing at the front of the classroom lecturing, or helping a student navigate problems in everything from their schoolwork to their lives during office hours.
But Constance, like so many other women, has spent the past year and a half aghast at the state of our country. She’s watched politics at every level with frustration, anger, and a growing feeling of helplessness. She’s seen a president consistently disrespects minorities and women, while her own state dissolved into a mess of corruption and incompetence.
Constance Anastopoulo couldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer.  Now, she’s the first women in the history of South Carolina to run for the office of Attorney General.
“I felt like I had to do something,” Constance said. “If someone tells you that you can’t be the first female Attorney General in the history of the state, I say ‘Why not?’”
Constance is just one example of a political trend that has exploded this election cycle. Across the country, women are running for office in numbers never before seen.
According to The New Yorker, as of mid-April:
472 women are running for the House of Representatives
57 women have entered the race or are likely to enter the race for the Senate
78 women are likely running for governor
All are record numbers.
Women aren’t just seeking office at the national level, either. They’re also running in state and local elections, from state senates to city councils to school boards. What’s more, the diversity of female candidates this election cycle is stronger than ever. There have been record numbers of women of color running, as well as immigrants and veterans. They range from young and single to mothers with families to grandmothers finding their second career. Some are defending current seats. Many are entering politics for the first time.
When the first Women’s March on Washington was organized last year, many women and men were thrilled. There was, however, an underlying current of doubt about the sustainability of the movement. We all acknowledged that the March was a powerful display of solidarity, power, and protest. But many wondered just how long it could last. Would this fire be gone within a few months, no longer anything more than inspiring pictures and old posters?
The #MeToo movement was the first sign that women were going to continue to fight back in the Age of Trump. As we began speaking out on sexual harassment and assault in all industries and all positions, we continued to build a movement to be reckoned with. Now, almost a year and a half since the first Women’s March, women throughout the United States are proving that we are out to create real, lasting, revolutionary change. And now that means political action.
While every woman has her own reason for declaring her candidacy, there are several common themes that run through each campaign. 
For instance, women have historically been less likely to run for office because they don’t feel qualified for the position. After watching Donald Trump ascend to the White House, however, these reservations have mostly gone out the window. Turns out, you don’t have to be qualified at all to win an election.
Moreover, fed up with the country’s direction and desperate for change, many women have decided: If not me, then who? They’re tired of others making decisions for them. They’ve decided to make a change themselves, instead of waiting for someone else to come along and do it for them.
Many women have found the courage to finally run for office thanks to the support of organizations like Emily’s List, which provide necessary resources to navigate complex political waters. This support dismantles barriers to entry, which can be unbearably daunting for first time candidates, and make it easier to run.
Super Tuesday is here but November’s Mid Term Elections are long way away.  And as we know, women have faced daunting challenges forever. For now, we should celebrate the courageous women who are seeking to serve their cities, their states, and their country. They’ve already made history, and they’re already changing the world.

 Pictured above: Constance Anastopoulo

 

This content has been contributed to us from Rossi Anastopoulo of The Uncommon Muse.


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