Political candidates encourage women to pursue running for office

Liliana discusses women being treated differently based on their looks and age.

By Courtney Ransom

DeKALB — The Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality emphasized the importance of women holding political offices Tuesday, by bringing “Is the Blue Wave Really a ‘Pink Wave’?” to the public.

The discussion, which took place in Cole Hall, was aimed toward gender and the political landscape, and included scholars and women running for office, according to the NIU Events Calendar.

Panel members included Liliana Orozco, candidate for DeKalb County Treasurer, Carolyn Morris, candidate for DeKalb County Clerk, and U.S. Congressional candidate Sara Dady. During the discussion these women shared their stories of what got them interested in politics.

“I remember in middle school and high school I took a couple of social studies classes that were so empowering,” Morris said. “I felt like this is somewhere I can get involved and make a difference one day. I was inspired at a really young age.”

The speakers also expressed the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated career. Dady said her law firm, Dady & Hoffamann LLC, is entirely staffed by women, so running for a political office showed her what it’s like to be in the male dominated workplace.

“Running for political office has opened a new male-world that I have not spent a lot of time in in the last decade,” Dady said. “It’s really driven home to me, men really can’t hear women; even men that support women and work for women.”

Dady said she often has male co-workers who present the same ideas she has previously presented, almost as if she hasn’t said anything.

Despite the current workplace climate, Dady and panel members are insistent women continue to run for office and encourage women to empower  

“We need to create more mentorships and manuals, [and] we need to walk people through because it can be so daunting for people who haven’t ever experienced [working in politics],” Orozco said. “Just that can persuade people from pursuing it.”

Political Science Chair Scot Schraufnagel presented a powerpoint on the history of women who have held political offices. The presentation, and embedded Washington Post video, described 2018 to be the year of women, just like 1992.

Undergraduate Program Director Laura Vasquez also presented a powerpoint. Vasquez and fifty other DeKalb women formed an invisible group. On Jan. 21 the women came together wearing pink hats with ears to join other women across the country in protesting President Trump being sworn into his presidency. The group has since hosted and attended a number of events encouraging women to have a voice in politics.

Vasquez ended her presentation by showing the numerous women across the country that are running for office in the 2018 election.

“This is what you can do to help women right here in your county: Get your friends registered and have them vote same day,” Dady said. “We need more women elected, and it starts here.”