Making lists to increase diversity in public office

Making lists to increase diversity in public office

Along the lines of my recent post about improving the number of science-literate politicians, I got to thinking about increasing diversity in politics.

More diversity in the echelons of power leads to increased financial returns for companies and diverse groups have been shown in multiple studies to rely more on facts and evidence and remain objective in their deliberations. Sexual harassment is more prevalent in male-dominated environments–a salient point in this current, post-Weinstein moment of actually dishing out consequences to powerful, abusive individuals in entertainment and politics.

Regardless of party, women in Congress have been shown to support women’s issues, including co-sponsoring more bills that impact women’s health than their male colleagues. And…you know what? I just don’t feel the need to wax on, justifying why having representatives that actually share your background is beneficial. Of course it is–it’s the central tenant of representational democracy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ranks a dismal 104th in the world for women’s representation in government.

The first step to increasing diversity is awareness. A link popped up on my facebook feed through Pantsuit Nation to the Awesomely Luvvie blog, which put together “A list of 100+ black women running for office in 2018”. (Check it out!)

Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm, who in 1968 became the first African American woman elected to Congress. Source: Wikimedia.

Can handy repositories like this be an effective tool to help spread awareness about candidates? Especially political outsiders who might not otherwise have the clout to rise to the fore. Political parties have a way of sticking to the status quo–ask anyone who “felt the Bern” last year.

What are some useful ways to support minority candidates in government? Weigh in in the comments!

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