Meet the Women of Progressive Turnout Project
In honor of women’s history month, we would like to shine a light on the extraordinary group of women that work at our organization. Check back for additional responses from our staff!
From Left to Right: Sharon (Employment & Recruitment Director), Jillian (Regional Director), Gina (North Carolina State Director), Lauren (Supporter Engagement Assistant), Katie (Senior Analytics Advisor), Priyal (Communications Director).
Whose a woman that inspires you and why?
Katie: Hillary. Hillary Rodham Clinton. On the toughest days, I think about Hillary giving her concession speech on November 9, 2016. Even after losing the biggest race of her life, she got up the next day, thanked her supporters, and urged everyone to keep fighting. Her bravery, tenacity, and perseverance have inspired women all over the country to run for office at every level, and I cannot wait to see the change those newly-elected women bring about.
Sharon: There are many women who have and continue to inspire me daily but I would have to say that Michelle Obama tops my list for her grace, class, intelligence beauty and for being a down to earth person who is comfortable in her own skin. It is hard to be first at anything especially, the first black anything.
Gina: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is my shero. She was the first woman who looked like me to succeed in government. It wasn’t until I saw her, and started reading about her life that I realized that I too could become a Supreme Court Justice. Representation is so important. We need more women of color to pick up the torch and run for office.
What issue are you most passionate about in the fight for gender equality?
Katie: I am so fired up about the remarkable women running for office all over the country. These women will bring their life experiences with them into office, helping to reshape public policy across so many issue areas. The best part of 2017 and 2018 has been witnessing inspiring, diverse candidates stepping up to run for office.
Sharon: The ability of women to maintain control over their own health decisions.
Gina:There are so many that I can’t just choose one. I believe in intersectionality, the idea that every issue is intertwined with another issue. You can’t look at an issue like abortion rights, and not also look at access to affordable healthcare and ability to take parental leave. The personal is political, even more so in our lives as women.
What advice would you give to a young women who aspire to be in politics?
Katie: Find a candidate or an organization you love and just show up. Go watch them give a speech and then stay afterward to knock doors in your neighborhood. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer, and look for opportunities to work with smart women.
Sharon: Get in while you have energy and passion.
Gina: Don’t let the patriarchy stop you. Don’t let anyone stop you. Find yourself a mentor, a strong woman who you aspire to be, then reach out to them. Ask them to coffee, take them to lunch, find out everything they did to get to where they are. None of us are going to be successful if we don’t help each other. We have to help each other! I can’t tell you how beneficial it’s been having a network of women in politics.
The theme of “International Women’s Day” is “Press For Progress”, what does that mean to you? How are women pressing for progress”?
Katie: It’s 2018, and we shouldn’t have to do this anymore. But we do. And that requires waking up every day and asking for better. It requires recognizing privilege we do have and using it to fight for and alongside those with less political power.
Sharon: In 2018, pressing for process means involvement at every possible level.
Gina: To me it means that we’re not satisfied with our representation as women. We aren’t going to stop until we are satisfied, and in the words of Angelica Skylar “we will never be satisfied.” We need to continue to fight for ALL women. I’m so inspired by all the women across the nation who have stepped up to run for office. The future is female, it’s diverse and I can’t wait to see it.