Reflections about my own family and my daughter’s future this Mother’s Day weekend brought to mind a study I saw a few years back about gender parity at the national level. The report, put out by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research determined that women would not reach parity in Congress until 2121. That’s 102 years from now. While this report is dated from 2014, if this holds true, it would mean that when my daughter’s granddaughters run for office, they may be running on a level playing field. While I certainly hope that the 2018 wave of women running and winning at the Congressional level and here in North Carolina may have shaved a few years off, as a woman and a mother of a daughter, I find this timeline simply unacceptable.
But there is a solution. The report based this projection on the 2014 “political pipeline” of women – the numbers of women serving at the state legislative level who may be ready to run for higher office at some point in the future. So, were many more women to run for and serve at the legislative level, it would grow the pipeline and presumably decrease the amount of time it would take to achieve gender parity.
And just as it would take a surge in women running for the legislature to help impact Congressional gender parity down the line, a surge in women running for local office could help bump up our legislative numbers here in North Carolina. Currently, about 24% of Congress is made up of women, the North Carolina General Assembly is about 26% women. Lillian’s List certainly believes that achieving gender parity at all levels of government is critical to ensuring the very best policy and to making sure North Carolina is a great place to be a woman. That’s why we have developed our training program to focus more on supporting progressive women who are champions of gender equity and reproductive freedom running at the local level. We must build a bench of women ready to run, win, and lead at all levels of government. If you agree that we can’t wait 102 years for gender parity, you can consider running for office and join Lillian’s List at our June 1 Win Locally training!