It wasn’t just a blue wave that hit Orange County last November, it was a pink wave, too. Women won big in Orange County and across the country – Congress now has the highest number of women serving in history and the highest number of minority women in office.
These milestones deserve to be celebrated, but this Women’s History Month we also must recommit to the cause of getting more women elected at every level of government. We need more women in local office and that means we need to get more women active and running in our communities.
Studies show female leaders get more done — they pass more legislation that benefits working families and they fight to protect more social programs that women and children rely on like paid family leave and affordable child care. Studies repeatedly show that women are more likely to work toward compromise, and, in high-stakes situations, women are more likely to broker agreements, like in 2013 when women from both parties worked together to find a solution and end the government shutdown. This general proclivity for getting things done and standing up for working families creates more opportunities for women to get ahead and in developing countries is found to lead to greater economic growth. The bottom line is that when women are in power they create more opportunities for all people to get ahead.
As we reflect on all the ways women strengthen our communities it’s a reminder that while we had some historic victories, we’re far from seeing full representation. Today, just 31 percent of California’s legislature is female. This Women’s History Month we must commit to getting more women involved and more women interested in running for office to ensure we have strong advocates fighting for our families and our communities. And we can’t forget the importance of electing more women minorities. In Orange County, 34 percent of residents identify as latino and 21 percent identify as asian, it’s critical that we see more people in office who look like the residents they represent and who will speak for our communities and fight for our values.
This Women’s History Month is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go to ensure equal representation here and across the country. Let’s recommit to getting more women and more minority women involved — on their school board, on their city council, on their planning commission or anywhere else where we’re missing their voice.
I’m proud to stand with the women who made our historic victories possible. It’s up to us to keep showing up, keep fighting for what we believe in, and keep working to ensure our voices are heard.
Ada Briceño is the Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party.
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