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Marla Turner (Facebook)

Making strides

Female politicians in Nevada tackle the ‘women’s issues’ that male politicians ignored

April 18, 2017

After a series of electoral victories, nearly 40 percent of Nevada’s state politicians are now women — a ratio that ranks the Nevada legislature’s composition as more gender equal than in any other U.S. state apart from Vermont. Experts have long hoped that a greater number of women politicians could lead to women’s issues being given more weight in political discussions — in Nevada, at least, that already seems to be the case. Bills up for consideration in the Nevada State Senate and Assembly, designed and sponsored by female legislators, could lead to cheaper tampons, mandatory office breaks for pumping breast milk, and the elimination of birth control co-pays in the state.

According to a study from the Center for American Women and Politics, the root problem of gender disparity in politics isn’t that it’s impossible for women to win elections, but, rather, that far more men run for office than women do. A national group called Emerge America has been working to remedy the problem by training and recruiting Democratic women to run for office. Last November, nine graduates from Emerge Nevada put their names on state ballots — eight of whom went on to win.

According to Marla Turner, president of Emerge Nevada and secretary for the state Democratic Party, the number of women who have applied to the program over the past three years has nearly tripled.

“Women come to us and say, ‘I don’t know if I’m a good candidate. I don’t have any skill for this,’” Turner said. “We start breaking it down — they realize they can apply their skills from their work environments, from their involvement in their children’s schools, to the political process.”

While more Democratic women have been getting involved in politics over recent years, the numbers of Republican running for office continue to lag. Studies have shown that female politicians typically hold a wider range of positions than male candidates, and that women leaders tend to be more compassionate and better able to compromise than male counterparts.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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