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Why women in politics is important

Editor’s Note: This is a part of a collection of stories SDNN will publish throughout the month of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. Join us as we recognize Women’s History Month by sending in your stories too and checking SDNN every day for stories from other women in our region. Happy Women’s History Month!

As Women’s History Month is observed it is important that we continue to encourage and support women in fields that have typically been male dominated. Politics is one of these fields, we have made great advancements but there is still so much more work to be done.

Women make up about 50 percent of California’s population yet they only make up fewer than 30 percent of our representatives in the State Legislature; California ranks 16th in the nation when comparing the number of female state legislators. Equal representation is something we have been struggling towards for years but sometimes we lose sight as to why it is important.

Just like it is important for us to have someone representing us in government that has a similar political ideology, it is important that we have someone who has had similar life experiences. Someone who is engaged in the issues that affect women and can create solutions that will help women.

Men and women approach situations from very different perspectives and it is necessary that we have both of those perspectives at the table when legislation that affects everyone is discussed.

Over the past eight years I have seen more and more groups pop up that encourage and mentor women into the political arena. One of the original groups is Emily’s List which began in 1985 with 25 women on a mission to break the glass ceiling for women in politics. They are now a nation wide organization with more than 100,000 members and numerous spin off groups that have a similar mission both on the federal and state level but locally as well.

The California List is another one of these groups that has been very influential in guiding women to public office, founded in 2002 they are now over 1500 strong with a mission to get women elected to state office.

Locally we are very lucky to have an organization that began in 2008 with a similar mission, Run Women Run works to mentor women in the San Diego County area so that they are prepared for elected and appointed office.

These organizations are key to helping women feel confident and ready to run for office. We need to continue to cultivate and encourage these types of relationships that provide women with the tools they need to get out on the playing field.

I strongly encourage you to look into these organizations and get involved not just for ourselves but for our daughters and granddaughters.

Mary Salas is a California asssemblymember representing the 79th District.