But that's not the only reason. Women make up the majority of the US population, yet hold an alarmingly small percentage of public office positions. Quick, name another period of history where the majority in a population was ruled by a minority in power....
Time's up! South Africa during apartheid.
posts), women should hold slightly over 50% of these seats, but they don't. Women are a majority whose rights and interests are not represented fairly or evenly.
What about minorities in legislature? The U.S. population includes 12 percent African Americans, 9 percent Hispanics, and 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders and other groups. White people make up 72% of the current US population, and I remember reading that the percentage of white males in the US make up around 32% of the total population (don't quote me on this). In Congress, however, 90 percent of the lawmakers are male, and 87 percent are white. (source: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4732).
When it comes to race and gender, major systemic changes that reflect the interests of the population as a whole are not being properly represented. I am stating the obvious and most likely preaching to the choir (since most of you reading this blog are my friends and/or other activists). So it's great that we may know all of this, but how many of us are running for office?
I spent a few hours last month at the headquarters opening of the David Chiu for Mayor Campaign. David Chiu is running for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011 and if he wins he will be the first elected Asian American Mayor of the city of San Francisco.
|David Chiu speaking at his campaign HQ opening|
|Outside of the Jennifer Pae Campaign HQ|
|Kamala Harris, my political girl-crush|
|Abel Guillen speaking to supporters and friends|
Run, please run. At least think about it, or consider doing it one day. Encourage our young leaders. Mentor. VOTE. Encourage others in your ethnic communities to vote, since many of them don't do or may not have the resources to even do that much. It's great that there are plenty South Asian or Asian engineers and doctors, but in order for there to be real progressive change there needs to be strides taken within the public sphere. I'm not an engineer or a doctor, but I hope to be part of this movement, this change towards more diversity in the decision making bodies that represent all of us. Women need to run, lots of them need to run and they need to run now. Yes women's rights have improved greatly since women's suffrage and the women's rights movement of
the 60's, but we haven't reached equality, not by a long shot. Run sisters run, run brothers run, it can happen. The people mentioned above are helping to pave that path, and it is up to me and you to make sure that kind of action continues, with our generation and the ones that will come after.