A photo of witnesses testifying on the benefits of birth control in front of a House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill was trending hot on Facebook since Thursday. What stands out about this photo is that all of the witnesses are white, middle-aged men. The fact that there aren’t any women there to make decisions about women’s health policy on this very serious and gender-specific issue shows how imbalanced and unfairly women’s issues are being dealt with in America. Policies concerning women’s issues shouldn’t be determined by only men. This photo highlights a need for change — we need more women holding positions in the highest spots of government.
One organization that seeks to change this dearth of female voices in the top positions of government is the White House Project. This weekend, the White House Project is hosting the Go Run event in which selected politically-inspired women are trained to advance their leadership in politics with the skills they need to run and win in office. The weekend-long training session aspires to break down the political process, encouraging women of all backgrounds to become leaders. The program provides women with the fundamentals of running for political office by focusing on subjects like fundraising, communications and campaigning. These are all beneficial skills women can use in their careers and communities, aside from giving them an advantage when they decide to run for positions in office.
The Go Run event is needed today more than ever. Currently, none of the candidates running in the 2012 presidential election are women.
Women hold 16.6% of the 535 seats in the whole of the 112th Congress — 17% of the 100 seats in the Senate and 16.6% of the 435 seats in the House. Last year, only 68 women held statewide elective executive offices across the country; women held 21.6% of the 315 positions that were available. Last year, 28.3% of the 7,382 state legislators were women.
The percentages of women in these positions should be at least half of the total number of positions available. This would determine that there are balanced and fair rulings from both sexes, especially when it comes to issues in women’s policy. Projects like Go Run are making it possible to trigger a change in the statistics and even more should be done to influence that these changes for women in leadership positions arrive promptly.