We put a call out for questions and one of our readers didn’t hesitate to throw out some tough ones right away — it’s a three parter!
How can we encourage more women to run for office?
What would need to be true for more women to stand up?
How do we prevent or acknowledge burnout?
Susanna Shetley’s response:
Fiercely supporting the women who are already in office or running for office is the first step in encouraging more women to run. Those considering an office would be more motivated if they knew constituents would rally around them. We can certainly do this by voting, but we can also ignite female nominees/politicians by educating friends and family, retweeting their words, sharing blog posts and articles, and keeping ourselves informed.
The patriarchy has been in control since the beginning of time. This is shifting, albeit at a snail’s pace. For our society to evolve, we need not a shift but a movement. A few women here and there won’t do it. Redirection in mentality and philosophy are helpful, but we need women to change their behaviors to see real progress. Why not have the dad stay at home while the mom works? Why not apply for the CEO position traditionally held by a man? Why not run for an office historically won by a male nominee? A woman should always ask herself, “Why not me?" We feed off and encourage each other. Our collective action as a gender will make all the difference.
Women have always been bad at self-care. We give, give, give to everyone and everything around us before we give to ourselves. We must breathe deeply before we can breathe life into others. To prevent burnout, women need to compartmentalize work, play and relaxation. This is easier said than done, but it works. Aside from that, success and progress are addictive. Once women start seeing that their actions and words matter, they’ll naturally want to continue the work. That in and of itself will prevent burnout.
Amanda Singletary’s response
The simple answer is to elect women in the first place. I think one of the biggest hindrances is the lack of visual representation in elected offices and the best way to encourage other women to run is to see women in positions of authority. You see, women do in fact run for office. What they don’t do regularly, is win. I’m not sure I have the space to give a step-by-step guide on crushing the patriarchy, but one thing we can and should do, is get over our reservations about voting for women and just do it.
What would need to be true for more women to stand up? More men sitting down.
We can prevent burnout by acknowledging the external forces at play pushing us, as women, to be models of perfection. When we genuinely accept that it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect, we can then be our best selves and, in turn, worry a little less.
Jessi Stone’s response
Wow. These are great questions I think about often. To encourage more women to run for office, we actually have to encourage women to run for office. Statistics show that men don’t need much outside feedback before deciding to run for office but women need to be asked 10 times to run before they really consider it. So, when we see a woman in the community who is working hard to help others and is passionate about the issues that matter most, tell her how impressed you are with her leadership and tell her what a great representative she would be for her community. Plant the seed.
I don’t know if I can beat Amanda’s response to the second question, but if I’m thinking more internally, women need to work on listening to their inner voice and inner strength instead of relying on outside forces to feed our confidence. Standing up is hard and vulnerable but it’s also brave. We as women can’t be afraid of standing up and falling down and standing right back up. That’s when we build resilience and strength to keep going, which is why I love the quote we featured in today’s Rumble!
We have to stop looking at being overworked and burned out as a status symbol. Working yourself into physical, mental or emotional exhaustion is not something we should admire in each other. Women need to know their health and wellbeing should be the top priority because we can’t pour from an empty glass.