By Alex Bazan on behalf of the Brava Editorial Board
They call it the Trump Effect. Women across the United States stepping up and running for public office. They credit number 45 for lighting a fire and inspiring hundreds of women to put themselves on the ballot this year. Because in the year 2018, it is still inconceivable that a woman could make decisions without approval, or in this case, inspiration, from a man.
Despite the common narrative being fed to us, women are on the ballot, not because men gave them the permission to do so, but because they are tired of living in a democracy that does not represent them, their families, or their communities. The hundreds of women on the ballot this year are there because they made the decision to do so. The time has come to stop giving men credit for the work that women are doing.
And make no mistake, these women are not simply making reactionary decisions to run for public office. In many cases, women have been laying the groundwork for this shift for decades. Whether they began advocating for their communities in the classroom, the boardroom, the courthouse, or the house down the street, women have taken an active role in building and shaping our country from day one. And they’ve done it without the tools, power, or accolades that men, primarily white men, have enjoyed in their efforts to secure political power.
Women have also dedicated years to mobilizing the effort behind the scenes. Groups like EMILY’s List, Emerge America, and She Should Run were established long before Donald Trump ran for office. These women organized and women led organizations have become some of the most dominant forces in today’s political landscape, leading to major shifts and upsets up and down the ballot. To say that the influx of women running for office is a result of the current administration’s actions is to cast aside the years of hard work, dedication, and strategic planning that these organizations have invested into changing the face of our democracy.
This so-called Trump Effect is just the latest example in a long history of men taking the credit for the accomplishments of women, particularly in politics. So here at Brava, we say enough. Enough allowing men to hijack our stories and use them for their own benefit. Enough showering men with praise for “allowing” this or “making room” for women to get involved. And enough treating women like overzealous newcomers itching to jump on the political bandwagon.
That is why we are taking a fresh look at the “Year of the Woman”. Rather than gawk at the notion that women can run for public office, we are going to celebrate the accomplishments of the women on the ballot this year, take a moment to learn more about the women who paved the way and led us to this point, and hear from the women who are going to continue to create change and advancements in our state and our nation by running for office in the future. We hope that you’ll join us as we shine the spotlight on these phenomenal women and celebrate their accomplishments.