Twelve women munched on popcorn Monday while talking about their hopes that more women are elected to political office to better represent the female population.
Lafayette City Council member Chris Cameron and White House Project employee Faith Winter, discussed the barriers women face when running for political office and about how women made great advances in politics in the recent election.
“People think (women) have already made it; that we have already reached equality,” Winter said. “But proof that there is still a glass ceiling is (the fact that) a woman has not become president yet.”
Winter said that although it is projected to take 200 years before women are represented equally in political office, women made huge progress in the Nov. 7 election.
“Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking woman we have ever had in politics,” Winter said. “There are 16 women in the Senate, which is an all-time high, and 70 women in the House, which is also a record.”
Cameron said she is also happy that so many women were recently elected to office. She was a stay-at-home mom for several years until she became interested in local politics and ran for city council last year.
“I think women need to see other women in politics because it is important that women know that they can do it,” Cameron said. “Fifty percent of the population is women, so there is no reason why this 50 percent cannot be represented in politics.”
If more women were elected into political office, Cameron said she thinks politics would become more personal, and more focus would be put on domestic issues like education and families.
Alex Bratschie, a fifth-year integrative physiology and women studies major, organized the discussion because she wanted students to have an engaging dialogue about the topic.
“There is mainly just a lack of representation,” Bratschie said. “It is also here at CU.”
Bratschie said that she sees a lack of representation in the small number of female tenured professors, the heads of student groups, and even in course material, which favors men.
“It permeates through all levels of society,” Bratschie said.
Brooke Loftus, a senior religious studies major, came to the discussion and asked a few questions.
“I am feeling really inspired that women can participate in politics,” Loftus said.
Likewise, Sarah Lowe, a junior English major, said she enjoyed the discussion. She said running for political office has crossed her mind before, and she really wants women to make up a larger percentage of political offices.
“I feel more encouraged,” Lowe said.
Winter said that she believes a movement is beginning in which more women will be accepted and elected into political office.
“The Western states have had huge gains (regarding women in political office) recently,” Winter said. “(In the past) Colorado was the first state to elect two women representatives in 1897. This state continues to be the frontier of the women’s movement.”
Winter said she is encouraged and excited about the recent gains women made in politics in the last election. She hopes that the trend to elect more women will continue.
“The world would be a very different place if more women were in political office,” Winter said.