More than 3.2 million people participated the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, with approximately 3.2 million more people marching worldwide in peaceful solidarity, calling for a “revolution.”
Women and men were disgusted with the election outcome and potentially harmful policies and legislation to dismantle human, civil, reproductive rights and environmental policies. But just calling for change did not mean the battle was won. Far from it.
This month marks 100 years since women have had the right to vote. US Rep. Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to serve in Congress in 1917. The Women’s March on Washington spoke to the heart of women’s rights issues, but women still have a long way to go. Some experts report that women make up just 21 percent of Congress, and that more women should consider running for office.
In 2012, CNN began a series of stories called “Nine Badass Women Changing the Face of Politics Today.” After gaining political clout, these women have remained advocates for women’s rights. Following is more detail about these nine remarkable policymakers:
Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, co-founded the Healthy Hawaii Coalition to improve community health and protect the island’s environment. Regarding social issues, the congresswoman reportedly told the Los Angeles Times, “We cannot afford to walk down that dangerous path of government overstepping its boundaries into the most personal parts of our lives.” Gabbard is Hindu American.
Huma Abedin served as deputy chief of staff for former presidential candidate, first lady, US senator and secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton said of Abedin, “She is timeless, her combination of poise, kindness, and intelligence are matchless, and I am lucky to have had her on my team for a decade now.” Abedin is Muslim.
Mia Love, married mother of three, was mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, for four years. ”I was elected mayor because of the policies I put in place,” said Love, who is now a member of Congress and spoke at the March for Life in Washington, DC. She is the first Haitian-American Republican elected to Congress.
Rachel Kleinfeld soars with stellar credentials. She is a doctor of philosophy from Oxford, a consultant to the World Bank, the European Union and others, a co–founder of the Truman National Security Project, and author of “The Missing Middle in Police Reform.” She says repressive police killings should serve as wake-up call to everyone in America.
Sandra Fluke, is a social justice lawyer who campaigned for President Obama and other Democrats after Republicans expelled her from a congressional hearing regarding her comments about insurance coverage and birth-control pills. A woman’s rights advocate, Fluke stresses, “Running for office is one of the ways we can advance issues.”
Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, has been homeless in her life, but that did not prevent her from earning her PhD and eventually serving in the Arizona state House of Representatives, the state Senate and currently as a member of Congress. “If you make it, you have a responsibility to help others make it,” exclaims Sinema, who plans to run for re-election in 2018 and could be a candidate to unseat Arizona Republican Jeff Flake in the US Senate.
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s list, says “Having more women in office would change the tone, through discussion, the focus — literally, the priorities of the nation.”
Jaime H. Beutler, a congresswoman representing Southwest Washington, supports veteran’s and women’s issues. Though she wants changes to the Affordable Care Act, the congresswoman wants to safeguard Medicare and supports “patient centered” insurance solutions.
Jackie Curtiss, at 22 the youngest member of the GOP platform committee, told Buzzfeed she hopes the Republican Party addresses young people’s concerns in the next election. Ms. Curtiss believes some youth will not delay engaging in sex before marriage, so she supports the morning after pill.
These nine extraordinary women are making progressive contributions to protect women’s rights and our nation. However, there are millions of other women who are making a difference but do not think their stories matter. The truth is, every woman can make differences in our lives, just like the Nine Badass Women profiled by CNN.
Back in the 1980s, Michael Jackson asked the rhetorical question, “Who is bad?” The answer is, you are. Be progressive with your “bad self” — organize, campaign, run for office, win and lead. As Michael might say, if you are a woman, “you’ve got to be starting something!”.
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