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Is politics a man-only province? Maybe not when we have a vice president a heartbeat away from the presidency. Maybe not when we have mayors and governors all over the United States that are women. And members of Congress.
But out of 535 members of Congress in 2020, only about 23% were women—just 126 female representatives in the House, and only 25 women in the Senate. That’s far from a fair representation of the population.
And out of 50 states, currently there are only eight female governors.
We have a long way to go.
But there are dynamic women who are transforming politics and the political game not just in elected office but in the business of politics—the making of a candidate, the election of a candidate, and the championing of issues.
Stefanie Roumeliotes, of SGR Consulting in San Francisco, is one of the power players in the political and fundraising game (she also works for non-profits). She helped make Eleni Kounalakis the lieutenant governor of California, and works with the governor also, Gavin Newsom. “I am proud to work with some of the most inspiring and incredible leaders and public servants in the country,” she says.
And her office is mostly staffed with women. “I realized how many young women were working in campaign politics and I knew that within the first year that (SGR) must create an environment for women to bond, flourish and rise,” she says.
She even thought of running for office herself, “but came to the realization that the best use of my instincts, talent and skills was to work on campaigns and help propel others into elected office.”
She has done just that for 17 years, and the challenges for women in politics remain. “We have a long way to go before we achieve gender equality equity and parity in this country,” she says. “From the corporate world to public office, women are underrepresented, even more so for women of color. The election of Kamala Harris, the first Black and first Indian woman to win the vice presidency, is historic and should be celebrated.”
But there is a long way to go and the statistics bear her out. Which has always amazed me, because women have and will always run the world with their sense and fortitude and wisdom—most men can’t even come close—and yet they are considered second-class citizens. Why don’t they deserve the same pay in the workplace? Why don’t they deserve the same jobs? Why can’t they lead and govern as well as any man—or even better—and why is seeing a woman as head of a corporation or head of government an exception?
My yiayiades could have ruled the world (they ruled theirs), my mother was our rock, my wife is mine and our families’, my daughters are career women who never stop being caring and thoughtful and intelligent. The women in our lives are the glue that holds us together and we should all hope they finally get their chance to make the world a better place for all of us with their intelligence and wisdom.
Dimitri C. Michalakis