Support women and vote
The United States Congress is only 19.4 percent female. As an American woman, that's incredibly disheartening. Luckily, here in Colorado, the picture better, at least at the state level. At 42 percent female, our state legislature is ranked first out of all the states in terms of women's representation.
While this should give Coloradans a reason to be proud, we can't pretend that our work is done. If we don't turn out on Tuesday for the many qualified female candidates on the ballot this year, we could lose some of the progress we've made and end up having fewer women in the legislature next year. We could fall below 42 percent. We could move down in the rankings.
There's a lot more at stake than just the bragging rights of having the most gender-equal legislature — although those are nice. Having fewer female legislators means that women's perspectives and experiences won't be adequately represented in policy discussions. It means that critical issues like family leave, equal pay and reproductive rights could fall to the wayside. It means our state will be moving backward instead of forward.
At Emerge Colorado, we recruit and train Democratic women to run for office, because we know their voices are needed. We have seven women running for the Colorado State Legislature this year. They're qualified, determined and ready to lead — but none of that matters if people don't vote. Remember: Your vote is your voice. If you care about equal representation for women, be sure to use it on Nov. 8!
Jenny Willford, executive director of Emerge Colorado, Denver