This year has been called “The Year of the Woman” to demarcate 2018 as a period of feminist progress, inspired by the #MeToo movement and a surge of women running for political offices. Know this; your voice and time for opportunity is in no way restricted to the remaining 70 days of this year. Progress requires long-term and continuous advocacy.
Founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Bourke pressed the button to drop the 2018 crystal ball in Times Square, ringing in the new year. Popularized by actress and activist Alyssa Milano’s tweet on Oct. 15, 2017, #MeToo has been used over 19 million times, according to Good Morning America. The movement has created a strong sense of solidarity among sexual assault survivors into 2018 and was further strengthened by the bold allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford.
The widespread use of #MeToo shows the potential and magnitude of women’s voices, but standing with women goes beyond camaraderie or social media movements. Action is necessary for bringing reform to reality.
Those who are not survivors of sexual assault or aspiring politicians, your voice is needed, too. Women have faced struggles in more than sexual assault cases: Reproductive rights, job discrimination and pay equity, to name a few.
Despite Ford’s allegations, Justice Brett Kavanaugh now serves on the Supreme Court, but this does not at all diminish women’s voices in the political sphere. When Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party, lost the 2016 election, the possibility of a woman president did not disappear.
Following the results of the election, Clinton tweeted “To all the little girls watching … never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.”
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris have signaled they may run for president in 2020, according to CBS News. This highlights the resilience of women to pursue the pinnacle of leadership in this country.
An unprecedented number of women are running for Congress: 53 running for Senate and 476 running for the House. These candidates evidence the breadth of women politicians, yet the 115th United States Congress House is 19.1 percent women and Senate is 22 percent. Having more women in power is not just for the sake of proportional representation, it is also about breaking the patriarchal political structure to open opportunities for equally competent women to speak into the policy rule everyday life.
Equal representation is not reached until women represent 50 percent of the positions in power. Reaching this number will likely take more than this year’s election, but it will never be accomplished without your voice.
Supporting women means lifelong advocacy. It requires your vote. It encourages female representation in all fields — sports, STEM and humanitarian careers, military jobs, etc. It continues to empower women, not just because of their happenstance paired X-chromosomes, but because of their inherent capabilities regardless of gender.
Let’s shatter that glass ceiling, and not be content with merely touching it.
The Baylor Lariat Editorial Board