Women In Congress

Since the early 20th Century, women have come a long way in terms of gaining rights, and making headway in positions of government. Women winning the right to vote in the 20th Century has led to more and more women not only making our voices heard in elections, but also becoming standout candidates at the local, state and federal levels of government. Currently, in the 113th Congress there are twenty women in the Senate and seventy-nine women in the House of Representatives. Altogether these women make up approximately, 20% of the total Congressional seats. While much progress has been made, women still have a long way to go before there is gender parity within the U.S. Congress.

According to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is will take, approximately, another 100 years before we see an equitable amount of women and men in Congress. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that still stand in women’s way when it comes to rising up the political ranks. Many women who seek political office lack mentors or people who are willing to step out and guide these women to have successful careers. Furthermore, sponsors are more likely to get behind male candidates than women candidates. In politics, it is most often the person with the most money who is going to win the votes. There are also many who believe women just do not seek out political careers. In some cases, this might be true, but there are plenty of women who have political ambitions. I am betting if resources were equitable for women candidates, there would be more women in Congress.

Within the last few years, if you pay attention to politics, you may have seen a few women making their voices heard. Most notably, Elizabeth Warren and Wendy Davis. Warren, formerly a bankruptcy professor at Harvard University rose to prominence in her fight against big commercial and investment banks after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Warren currently serves as one of the two Senators for the state of Massachusetts. Wendy Davis, is a Texas state senator, and ran an unsuccessful bid for governor. However, Davis’ campaign did make national headlines as she fought to protect women’s right to choose and other matters. Davis is still heavily courting the female vote in her state for her next political campaign. Women are making progress, but it will take time and more support from mentors, current political leaders, and the public to ensure equity at the federal, state, and local government levels.

 

 

Congressional count: http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Congress-Current.php

IWPR Stats: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/20/women-in-congress-gender-parity_n_5515701.html

 

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Women Do It All

Have you ever heard the saying “let a man be a man” or “ nobody wants an independent woman” etc? There seems to be this notion that women have to be demure, passive, and docile in order to be deemed appealing to the opposite sex. Men are supposed to be the dominant ones. The breadwinners who “bring home the bacon” while women tend to the supposedly more unassuming roles, such as mother and taking care of the home. However, unless you have been living under a rock the last few decades, you know more and more women are asserting their independence. Today, college campuses are often composed of a 40:60 split in which women are outnumbering the men. Women are also making up some of the largest leaps in entrepreneurship. As women continue to break down walls and barriers that once stood in our way, we are seeing more and more pushback from some men, and even some women.

I have personally seen women be told things like “Don’t buy your own home. No man wants to date a woman he doesn’t believe needs his help.” In 2012, the book “The End of Men: And the rise of women” by Hanna Rosin got a lot of tongues wagging on men no longer being necessary. Now, we all have men in our lives, as friends, lovers, fathers, sons, etc. We know men can be loving and supportive of our goals and dreams, but there are some who feel their masculinity is tied up in earning more or how reliant their significant other is on them. These are the type of men who are insecure at the notion of independent women. These are the type of men who will attempt to assert whatever power they feel they have over their partners. These may also turn into the type of men who, if they fall on difficult financial times or lose their job, can become withdrawn, depressed, and even violent towards their partners. In other words, these are the type of men one should be wary of.

Unfortunately, society has set up men and women to believe that men are natural born leaders, and women are supposed to follow. While things are clearly changing, we still have to continue to recognize this notion as the problem it is. Women are just as capable as leading as men are, and are proving this every day. Some men—many men—will struggle with accepting women who are opinionated, assertive, and take-charge. This issue is often revealing of these men’s insecurities and their own inferiority complex. Do not lose faith, there are plenty of men who support women who know what they want, and have goals and dreams. Focus on the men who are supportive and will help you reach your goals instead of hindering them.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October, which means, colder weather, pumpkin spice everything, and pink ribbons showing up all over your favorite food containers and in commercials. By now, you probably know that October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is a very serious issue among women, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women behind lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society more than 60,000 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer, 230,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and some 40,000 women will die of the illness, this year alone. While these numbers are scary, they do point to one important fact: getting tested can save your life!

Unfortunately, most women do not find out about their breast cancer until it has reached the latter stages. The later the stage the cancer is found the more complicated treatment becomes, and increases the possibility of dying from the illness. This is why it is so important to get tested, as well as get breast exams. Mammograms are the often prescribed testing method for breast cancer. While it is recommended that women over fifty get a mammogram every two years, for those who are younger, it is advised you speak with your doctor to inquire when to get a mammogram. Some women have a higher likelihood for breast cancer, if it runs in their family, therefore your physician may advise you start getting regular mammograms prior to turning fifty. There are two types of mammograms, a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram. The screening mammogram is the type used for women who are getting a checkup, and the diagnostic mammogram is used after a lump has been found. Mammograms are not the only form of breast cancer screening available.

Even if you are nowhere near fifty, or have any risk factors for breast cancer it is important that you get acquainted with your own tatas! Regular, breast self-examinations have helped many women save their own life. Frequent regular self-examination will help you to get familiar with the feel of your own breasts. This will make it particularly easy to identify if something feels out of place. Breast self-examinations are relatively easy and painless. All it takes is a few minutes, you can do it while in the shower or getting dressed in the morning. To do your own self-examinations, simply lift one hand over your head and place behind your back, so your elbow is point upward. With the other hand, take two fingers and move them in a circular motion, starting on the outer part of your breast, moving inward. You should be feeling for any lumps, hardened skin, or thickening. Remember to check your armpit area too, as breast tissue extends under the arm, as well. When done, simply repeat on the other side. Self-breast exams should be done at least once a month, if not more frequently.

Breast cancer can be a scary subject to talk about. However, October marks the perfect time of year to make a commitment to yourself and your health. Remember, while all the “save the tatas!” slogans are going around, this is more than just pink ribbons and a few donations. It is a commitment to yourself, as a woman, to put your health and your well-being first.

 

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