By Diana Ruiz, Executive Director, Women’s Global Leadership Initiative
As we strive toward creating equality for women in the US and globally, WGLI has set out to drive change. Regardless of our political affiliation, this is the thread that continues to unite us. It serves as our foundation and strength.
As we gather our thoughts and try to make sense of what happened in the elections, it is important to recognize that the fear that has divided this country is rooted in a reality that many of us have not yet acknowledged: economic inequalities exist for so many Americans.
I have spoken to women in areas of Oklahoma, Detroit, and Missouri that live in towns that were once thriving. Today, they tell me they don’t have a grocery store or a college in more than 50 miles from their homes. They want a better life, and we know they deserve the opportunity to feed and educate their families.
I believe that it is not about acknowledging defeat, but more importantly, becoming very grounded in our resolve to create economic opportunities for women and their communities. It is time to be fearless in our approach. We can begin by reaching out to other women, seeking to gain understanding and making a commitment to building communities dedicated to providing access.
Let the principals of democracy fuel your conviction. Each one of us has influence, and it starts with making a commitment to helping other women. Lift yourself up and hold your head high. Today begin to acknowledge ‘yes’ out loud what you have to contribute. This will instill courage in others.
Remember that it is in our differences, cultural backgrounds, and varying perspectives that we are able to create strong community that represents the interest of those we care for.
Celebrate the women in your community that have had the courage to run for office! Women are making progress at every turn and are taking the lead. They are serving in Congress, on the Senate, as State Representatives, on City Councils, School Boards, as Majors, County Supervisor….
Here are a few courageous women who won important seats in this election.
They are moving on up!
The first Latina elected to U.S. Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto.
- The the first Indian-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Pramila Jayapal.
- The first Indian-American and second black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris.
- The first Somali American to be elected to a state House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar. Today she is one of the most visible Muslims in government.
- Tammy Duckworth elected Illinois Senator, a 48-year-old veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq war when the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down.