More Massachusetts Women Are Entering Politics

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Official photo)

If numbers tell the story, consider this: The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus supported eight women running for office five years ago. This year 83 women have requested endorsements from the group.

That significant increase conveys the growing trend of more women entering Massachusetts’ political world, said MWPC’s former president Gail Jackson-Blount.

“More and more women now who are on the hunt for support from our organization are starting at the local level” said Jackson-Blount. 

At the local level, women can begin their involvement in the political world by being active in school boards or attending town hall meetings, she said. Other ways include participating in specific political party activities and meetings, volunteering for advocacy organizations, or even becoming an elected representative, according to Jackson-Blount.

The MWPC has been able to reach women across the state in order to increase both female candidacy and diversity.  Committee locations across Massachusetts include Berkshire, Greater Newburyport, South Shore and Worcester.

Jackson-Blount describes the organization as “a non-partisan, pro-choice organization that supports women’s candidacy.” The MWPC requests applications from different candidates who wish to be sponsored. 

The organization not only endorses female candidates, but they also provide workshops. Working with the Center of Women in Politics and Public Policy, the MWPC put together panels of elected female officials, such as mayors across Massachusetts, to discuss various subjects. They spoke about their careers and prominent topics in society to the community.

MWPC also sponsors events such as the 2017 Boston Women’s March, with a turnout of roughly 100,000 people.

According to Jackson-Blount, Massachusetts has made positive strides, but still faces challenges. The MWPC stated that Massachusetts has yet to elect a female governor.  Also, one of the current senators, Elizabeth Warren, is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts.

While the state itself needs to make changes, Jackson-Blount said some of the issues may also have to be fixed by society and overcome by women internally.

Contrasting women from men, Jackson-Blount explained that women have the tendency to second guess and doubt themselves. A study done by American University, “Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics,” found that women, more than men, tend to believe they are less qualified for a political position.

“By 2020, we would love to see the numbers [become] more even,” Jackson-Blount said. “We would see 50 percent or 51 percent women in elected office but that’s unrealistic. However, we can still try.”

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