Tomorrow is Election Day and Wednesday morning we will all wake up with a new President. While like most of America, I will be glad to finally be at the end of this long, drawn out, nasty roller coaster of an election race.
It’s been a great topic for bonding with my daughter. We have followed the election closely and I’m proud to say my Millennial is well informed and passionate about the topics at hand. But would she run for office? Unfortunately she wouldn’t it, which is a shame because her passion would translate into authenticity and believability. She, like so many other young women falls in line with a recent survey by the 1,000 Dreams Fund.
The 1,000 Dreams Fund, a national scholarship program designed to empower girls and help kick-start their life goals, surveyed almost 1,000 Gen Z and Millennial women across the U.S. and found 20 percent have zero interest in politics. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
In many respects I don’t blame them. Many years ago I decided to work for Ted Kennedy’s run for office to see what it would be like. I walked in believing I could help make a difference only to find out that so much of what went on behind the scenes is contrived and manufactured for the cameras. Trump actually got caught for this manufacturing when he had white people in the audience with “Blacks For Trump” signs. Oops. So I’m not surprised to see 64 percent of the women in this survey say this year’s election has negatively impacted any thoughts of public service because of the thought of campaigning or the responsibility.
Here are some of the survey highlights:
• 20% of women say they have zero interest in politics
• 80% – are at least moderately tuned in.
• 9% are interested in entering public service, but 64% say this year’s election has negatively impacted their thoughts on the matter.
• The issues of most importance to young women are:
– Jobs (66%)
– Economy (65%)
– Women’s Issues (63%)
– Healthcare, inclusive of Obamacare (59%)
– National Security (51%)
Of the above issues, young women were most concerned with”
• Paid family leave
• Gender pay gap
• Reproductive rights + more affordable education/college
Did you we are the only developed nation without a guaranteed of paid family leave? It’s true. It is unbelievable that the U.S. is so far behind on this subject. And the pay gap? I don’t think without women in politics or at the helms of more American companies that we will see the gender pay gap close. Years ago a partner of mine wanted to fill a leadership position with a male candidate and pay him $50,000 more than I was making. He even had the audacity to say, “You don’t have a problem with that, do you?” I sure as hell did and gave him an earful and he was not hired. I believe women need to stand together to push through the changes that need to happen that affect us all. Unfortunately the 1,000 Dreams survey found that young women don’t truly believe either Hillary or Donald understand women’s issues.
So how can we help young women get more involved in our destiny?
First it starts with education. All around the world there cries for girl’s education. Companies like the 1,000 Dreams Fund are helping women get the education women need to succeed. The National Women’s Business Council showed women-owned firms have an economic impact of $3 trillion that translates into the creation and/or maintenance of 23 million jobs. That’s 16 percent of all U.S. jobs.
EmergeAmerica is helping Democratic women run for office all across America. They are a wonderful organization to follow with a tremendous track record for getting women in office.
SheShouldRun is a national organization helping to inspire young women to become leaders and consider running for office. They have an incubator program and provide mentoring, guidance and a community to jump-start a political run.