Women talk about politics
Sofia Rositani – Arts & Entertainment Editor
Women who are a part of politics sat down for an hour on Thursday, Oct. 23 to talk about being a woman in a political position in Connecticut, and how they worked their way to be in that position.
This virtual event was sponsored by the Office for Student Conduct & Civic Responsibility, the Political Science Department, the Journalism Department, and the College Democrats and Republicans. The host was Professor Theresa Marchant-Shapiro.
Originally supposed to be in-person event, due to COVID-19, it was held virtually on Facebook live through the Southern Facebook account.
“We were able to get these four amazing women to come and talk to our Southern students about what it’s like to be a woman involved in politics,” said Marchant-Shapiro.
The four women who spoke at the event included Office of Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, State of Connecticut; Rep. Themis Klarides, Minority Leader, Connecticut House Republicans; State Representative Robyn Porter, Connecticut House Democrats; Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, Connecticut House Republicans.
Bysiewicz is one of the four women who spoke during the event about what got her into the position she is in now. She said that she noticed the issues in Middletown that effected her and her family on a daily basis such as, crime rates, a nuclear power plant being decommissioned, and the public-school system.
“I thought to myself after a couple of days, you know what my husband is right and I should stop worrying about all of these things and this would be a job where I could do something about all of these issues that were of concern to me,” Bysiewicz said.
The women on the panel came from diverse backgrounds and political parties.
One was Klarides, who is a minority leader for the Republican party, while Porter is a representative of the Democratic party.
“I am truly grateful for all the women, but also the men, who then knew enough to be able to provide all us citizens the equal opportunity to vote. And I think with that gave an equal opportunity to have our voices heard,” said Rebimbas.
Rebimbas also said giving women these roles brings unique perspectives and experiences to these jobs.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” as written in the Constitution of United States of America.
This amendment came to be after women marched for the right to vote 100 years ago, also called Women’s Suffrage. While women did finally get the right to vote, Black women were still unable to due to the Jim Crow Law years later. Some of the women who did get the right to vote did not help the Black men and women get their rights, according to Porter.
“We are the birthers of nations. Without women the world doesn’t exist so the fact that we were left out from the beginning, and Black women and women of color are still struggling to have the right to vote,” Porter said.
Porter continued with saying that many of the women who fought for the right to vote did not help when it came to the Civil Rights march allowing rights for Black men and women.
Marchant-Shapiro said the gender gap has widened since women got the right to vote because they want to see more family issues talked about, such as the children in cages at the border, and since the last election the gender gap has gotten wider and the country is seeing more women run for office.
“According to the polls, that gap is widening this year, just looking in on the Trump policies and not seeing it as for family or pro-women in the way they want to see it,” Marchant-Shapiro said.
The women on the panel were complimenting each other at the event and were aware of other’s political differences and beliefs.
“We often say that women were given the right to vote and we know that is absolutely not true,” Porter said. “Women fought hard for the right to vote.”