Cheers to the 8%
By Mimi Broihier
Just this year in an issue of Ladies Home Journal, 92% of women indicated they do NOT want to run for a political office. Who could blame us, especially after this past election? What woman would willingly jump into that fire when it means playing by the boys’ rules in a boy’s world? Apparently just 8% of us would.
According to an article in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton, the world still defers to male behavior and choices as if they are the “default and the ideal,” as if the male ways of living life and running business are the only options out there. In other words, we have accepted male methods as the standard, as if there were no other way to accomplish things. Until now.
When election day brought the number of women in the House up to 80 and the number of women in the Senate to 20, I cheered, and my whole being relaxed, as if it had been curled up in a small box for years and finally freed. Women have been losing traction on the basic rights to running their own lives and it was getting scary. Finally someone held up the framework of our lives and said this does not reflect me! These are not my values, my needs! This does not honor my life and my being. And from the scuffed up, second-hand desk that has held my life since I left the ugly, male-dominated world of sales, I cheered. I cheered for Anne-Marie Slaughter and I cheered for the 8%, who produced those women who ran for public office and won.
Politics and business have run on male hormones for so long, few of us recognize what a balanced political campaign or corporation looks like. All the world knows is the male way of doing anything. The female way has been ignored, burned at the stake and ridiculed out of existence for centuries. Women have been beaten into submission by tradition, betrayed by religion, bullied by corporate bosses and squandered by the political system—in the name of “that’s the way it’s done” and “this is how it is”.
For the past few decades, after winning a few rounds in the ‘60s and ‘70s for sexual freedom, birth control and abortion rights, women thought it was safe to take a breather and think about who we wanted to be: astronauts, physicists, business owners, authors, filmmakers. But it wasn’t so easy since the rules were already established by history, a history that is not ours, a history we barely show up in.
With this past election we see it is time to write some new rules. Rules that reinvent our female lives according to our own specifications for life and liberty. And when men and women are represented in a balanced way, we all benefit. No one loses, and the world takes another step forward toward equanimity and peace.
So cheers to the 8% of us that produced the women who ran for office and won. And cheers to the results and a more balanced world, one that reflects us all.