The U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Women of the 113th Congress in 2013. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

It’s no secret that wherever you are in the world, you are likely dealing with some political upheaval and unrest, whether it be locally or on a state or federal level. Politics can be weird, scary, upsetting, and just not make any sense. And you know what would help with that? Getting more women involved in politics. Women and girls make up roughly 50 percent of the global population — we deserve equal representation in all political systems around the world.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a New York Times podcast called The Daily and they were talking about the last “Year of the Woman,” in the United States, which was in 1992. That was the year that a record number of women were voted into the U.S. Congress. The hosts said something that startled me, and that was this: the current session of Congress is only made up of 19 percent of women. In Afghanistan, their legislature is made up of 20 percent of women. Hearing those numbers so starkly was a real wake up call. We can, and should, do better. Women and girls have made some significant strides, especially over the last few years, in the U.S. and worldwide, which is definitely something to be proud of. Today I am going to talk about some women who are breaking barriers, and how this should matter to young girls everywhere.

On June 26th of this year, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York State’s 14th Congressional District against her Democratic opponent, incumbent Joe Crowley. Last week, on September 4th, Ayanna Pressley won the Democratic primary in a stunning race against 10-term Democratic Representative Michael Capuano — a win that all but means she will become the first African-American women to represent Massachusetts in Congress. Pressley’s Boston district has no Republican on the ballot in November and is one of the most left leaning districts in the country.

Once more, in case people have forgotten my favorite political topic: representation matters. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. New voices, diverse voices, different experiences — they all matter. When girls, particularly girls of color and other minority groups, see themselves and their experiences reflected in the wider world, particularly in politics, that can be a game changer.

The (political) future is female. Not only in Massachusetts, but hopefully all around the United States and around the world. Oh, and if you’re 18 or older (especially if you’re between 18-35 years old), the U.S. midterm elections are in 57 days. Make your voice heard at the ballot box and stand up for girls’ rights. I will be voting — will you?

-Sage Daugherty
Associate Editor
Girl Museum Inc.

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