Why electing women matters

Columnist: Bayley Baker is a senior at Washburn University studying mass media and political science. She enjoys reading, writing and watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. The goal of this column is to mobilize and inspire Washburn students by educating them on politics.

Bayley BakerContributor

Women make up roughly 50% of the population in the United States. It seems logical to me that those numbers should be reflected in who represents us politically at the governmental level. But that’s not the case.

Women currently hold less than 25% of all seats in Congress. Voting for women matters regardless of your political party, and here’s why.

In order to function as a truly representative body, Congress needs to accurately reflect the population of the United States. The more reflective that our nation’s most visible policymaking body is of the people it is supposed to serve, the more legitimacy it has as a truly representative establishment. This includes electing more women.

This representation matters for reasons beyond the numbers. For populations who have been historically marginalized, including women, seeing ourselves in our nation’s most influential political positions can develop greater trust in those roles. It might even inspire some women to see political leadership as a possibility for themselves.

Beyond gender alone, women bring a different and valuable perspective to Congress. Their experiences shape how they govern. Political science research shows that women legislators are more likely to introduce legislation that specifically benefits women, addressing key issues that may be overlooked by their male counterparts. This often includes policymaking regarding children and families as well.

The significance of voting for and electing women to public office extends beyond party lines. Democrat, Republican or anything in between, the reason to elect women is to elect women. We make up more than half of the country and should be half of the legislature as well.

To put it simply, the presence of more women, and – importantly – more diverse women, makes a difference in politics and policy-making at every level of government. It matters.

Edited by Jackson Woods, Jessica Galvin, Adam White