The 2016 election cycle has provided power and leverage to men who see no wrong in sexual misconduct and misogynistic ideologies. With this, a culture of hate and oppression has been allowed to flourish. This, however, cannot stand without backlash from American citizens.
In the wake of these scandals, the movement for gender equality has become stronger than ever. Between women’s marches across the country, in addition to the rise in women involved in politics, this rude awakening in our current political state has been the catalyst in sparking movements promoting positive change around the country.
Programs that support young people in politics are more valuable to our society than ever.
Girls State is one organization that offers high school girls a chance to learn leadership skills, about government systems, and scholarship opportunities for girls to get involved in politics.
To be selected for Girls State, juniors can apply and be sponsored by their town’s American Legion. The camp consists of a week away living in a college dorm room while creating a mock government with elected officials. This summer, it is held at Drake University.
Amanda Whetstone, Girls State candidate from last year, says, “There aren’t enough women in politics. We can do the same things. Gender should not be an issue, but it is getting better.”
Being surrounded by strong women during the weeklong camp made her question the difference between men and women in politics. “We’re just as qualified, and just as capable,” Whetstone added.
However, that is not reflected through representation. In fact, women still make up less than 20% of seats in Congress, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
It is so important for young people, especially women, to get involved in politics. Our history and culture have not often encouraged women to get involved in politics in the US. Organizations like Girls State and League of Women Voters are helping to change that. Women should have a say in politics – and deserve a society that supports the development of both genders as leaders.