This is the second piece of a four-part series titled “Mavens4Change,” featuring Rima Shahid, the CEO of Women4Change Indiana.
Happy Women’s History Month.
While Congress officially declared March as Women’s History Month in 1987, its roots date back to the early 20th century when suffragists fought for women’s right to vote.
The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during the pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
Providing hope is key, and I fervently believe hope begins at the ballot box. That’s why Women4Change is celebrating Women’s History Month by promoting ways women can affect change in their communities by voting and making sure women’s voices are heard.
State lawmakers across the country, including here in Indiana, debated proposed legislation that threatens our democracy. Some lawmakers want to suppress votes, take away the ability to mail in votes, and support gerrymandering.
Vice President Kamala Harris said, “The status of women is the status of democracy.” Despite that bold statement, the United States is 72nd in the global ranking of political gender parity.
We can be better! If we don’t vote, we risk having representatives whose priorities don’t align with ours. If we don’t vote, our voices and opinions won’t matter as much to the individuals who won the right to represent us.
The good news is, in every U.S. presidential election since 1984, more women have voted than men, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data.
Our upcoming elections (the primary on May 3 and general election on November 8) are midterms, so named because they happen in the middle of the president’s term. Midterms may not seem as exciting as presidential elections. But I’d argue they are even more important, because the results have an even greater impact on our daily lives.
In our work to educate, equip and mobilize Hoosiers to create positive change for women, Women4Change is hosting an event to learn about ways to get out the vote. Women4Change’s Listen, Connect, Participate: GOTV is March 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., both in-person and online. We’ll have two elected officials, experts, and a moderator, who will talk about things such as voter registration, candidate research, and having a vote plan.
Voting is an important way to ensure women’s voices are heard and our priorities are taken into account in public policy debates and when decisions are being made. When we vote, we need to consider if we are choosing leaders who represent our interests and concerns.
Ultimately, I’d love to see the day when Women’s History Month is no longer needed because we have equal representation throughout our government and laws that ensure women’s rights are protected.
Until that time, please join me in voting—and talking with your friends and families about the importance of voting.
Rima Shahid is the CEO of Women4Change Indiana.
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