Simon urges Kane women: Get involved in politics
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News July 13, 2012 10:22AM
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:27AM
Women make up 52 percent of the U.S. population, yet only 42 percent of voters. They make up 17 percent of Congress, and only six of 50 governors.
For women to have a stronger voice in the political world, those numbers have to rise, said the organizers and speakers at a Kane County Women in Government event Thursday evening at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles.
“It’s very, very important for women to not only focus on their families, but also politics and government,” said Nadia Blanc Daley, a Democratic candidate in the Kane County Board 14th District.
The event featured Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon as the keynote speaker. Simon started off her talk with some observations on why there may not be as many women in these jobs as men.
“Women don’t always have that confidence that ‘yes, I’m the right person to do the job,’” she said.
They also often need to be asked to get involved in politics, she said.
But women on the whole tend to be great listeners — a skill highly valued in the political world, she said.
“We’ve got a lot to bring to the table,” she said. “We just have to do it in better numbers.”
Simon encouraged those who may be hesitant to involve themselves.
“For any of you thinking that you maybe want to run for office, I’m now asking you,” she said.
More women are now earning college degrees, noted former U.S. Congressional candidate Cheryle Robinson Jackson, who also spoke at the event. They comprise a majority of the work force for the first time, make up a large portion of the voting population, and dominate social media.
“I know we have a voice,” she said. “The issue is to leverage that voice into influence and power.”
Women want to change the status quo, but are reticent to involve themselves with politics, she said. They view it as nasty and dirty — which it is — but they need to involve themselves to have their issues heard, she said.
“Men, we love you, we need you. We don’t want to be in front of you, but we don’t want to be behind you either,” she said.
The event also featured a viewing of the movie Iron Jawed Angels, and a panel discussion following the movie.