It’s no secret that female politicians hold significantly less active positions in office than their male counterparts, and that, in this moment, they hold more of these positions than ever before. How does this affect the upcoming generation of young women? Now that feminism is a term that is so prevalent in society, many empowering movements are rallying behind the cause. Social media has given us a window through which the lives of others all over the world are visible at the touch of a hand. This change has pushed girls to become increasingly unafraid of dreaming beyond the glass ceiling that has previously kept them from achieving the same status as men. How are the females of Generation Z expected to respond to their lack of representation in political figures?
Not all girls grow up daydreaming of the day they are inaugurated, but then again, there was a time a little girl wishing to venture into space as an astronaut was considered not only to be unconventional, but absurd. Sally Kristen Ride was the first American-born woman, and the third women worldwide, to enter space. In the same light. women win nobel prizes; they speak boldly against corrupt regimes; they are senators and congresswomen; they are lawyers and doctors; they are so much now that they could have never been before. Ask your sister, mother, friend, or classmate: What do you want to be when you grow up? This is not to say that other professions are not as important, if not more so, than being in office.
Just like most other children, what I wanted to be when I grow up changed with the weather. I would rotate through visions of superstardom, to the heroics of saving lives, and even dallied with the notion of being in the FBI. Although, I cannot speak for the dreams of all little girls as I never once dreamt of becoming a politician. Having realized this, my idea of holding political office is still hazy in comparison to being a lawyer or a doctor. More often than not, girls grow up seeing themselves represented on television, rather than in leadership positions.This perceived and very real difficulty that women face along the journey of success in any field once dominated by men often discourages many female candidates who are more than qualified for the job. Men are not evil job takers; for centuries on end such professions were held exclusively by them. However, young women deserve to feel as entitled to these jobs just as men have since the dawn of time.
The road to success is far from simple for young girls, but in this era, where information spreads like wildfire and one person’s voice can inspire that of so many more, us girls owe it to ourselves and the future generation to be the what Sally Kristen Ride was.
The first of many.
Graphic: Ryan Rhew