Demand more women lawmakers in city government

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Susan B. Anthony said in 1897, “There will never be complete equality until women themselves help make laws and elect lawmakers.”

Thanks in part to Anthony’s life work and that of her fellow suffragettes, American women now have the power both to vote and serve as lawmakers. Yet more than 120 years later Anthony’s dream of complete equality has not been realized, because of the profound disparity in representation between men and women in elected office.

Over my nine years as a member of the New York City Council I saw the number of women in the Council decline from a high of 18 in 2009 to its current number: 11.

Why should New Yorkers care about the underrepresentation of women in the city’s legislature? My experience in the Council serving on the governing team that oversees the spending of your tax dollars is perhaps the biggest reason.

The city’s budget is over $85 billion and the Council has oversight over nearly 130 different government offices and agencies and more than 200,000 employees. How this money is spent and these critical resources are managed reflects the make up of the city’s elected officials. When over 78 percent of the Council’s members are men, the male point of view dominates the discourse in the halls of government, even though a majority of New Yorkers—52 percent—are women.

Fortunately, there is a new awareness across the nation that women will not be equal until they have equal say in the most important decisions that affect their lives. One reason for this awakening is the election of a president who revels in his misogyny, has bragged about sexually assaulting women, and continues to show contempt for women in office, filling his cabinet with the highest percentage of men of any president since George W. Bush in his first term.

To do my part locally in the fight for complete equality, I co-founded the 21 in ’21 Initiative, a nonpartisan effort that aims to achieve gender parity in the New York Council.

While this goal is ambitious, it is attainable mainly because of two factors: term limits and the city’s public matching fund system.

In 2021—the year of the next Council elections—36 of the Council’s 51 seats will be vacant because of term limits. Without an incumbent office holder, these seats are much more winnable, particularly for a candidate who has spent years preparing to run. That’s why nearly four years out from Election Day, we’re already building the infrastructure and recruiting the candidates we’ll need to accomplish our mission of electing at least 21 women to the Council in 2021.

The best part of New York City’s electoral system is that you don’t have to be rich or have wealthy friends to become a successful candidate. That’s because the city’s Campaign Finance Board matches every dollar donated to your campaign up to $175 at a $6-$1 ratio, turning, for instance, a $10 donation into $70. This system empowers women from every neighborhood and every background to step up and vie to represent their community in the Council.

The main reason that more women aren’t elected officials is that far fewer women become candidates. Studies show that when women do run, they win at a comparable rate to men. While there are several factors that deter women from running, a large one is that women aren’t generally brought up in a way that inclines them to self-select as candidates the way men do.

I grew up in a woman-led household, in which my mother made the decisions for our family. She was a leader in her community and an elected member of the local school board. She instilled in her daughters the belief that serving in public office was the noblest of professions. I was lucky to have a mentor like my mother.

It is this model of strong mentorship that is at the core of the 21 in ’21 Initiative. We have already built a top-notch network of mentors to strengthen and support female candidates.

21 in ’21 is here for the women ready to become the future leaders of our city, but all New Yorkers must contribute for Susan B. Anthony’s dream to become a reality. From the voting booth to our block associations, and our political clubs to our community boards, we must all demand equal representation now.

Elizabeth Crowley

Co founder and Chair of 21 in’21

Posted 12:00 am, March 30, 2018
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Reader feedback

The Filth of Forest Hills from Forest Hills says:
You mean like the hack former city council member Elizabeth Crowley who wrote this. Yeah, she was a great role model. Just another do nothing political hack. WE NEED HONEST MORAL elected officials (be it women or men) who will roll up their sleeves and do the hard word that is needed for communities, not the political greedy whores like Crowley, Melinda Katz, Karen Koslowitz and their whore male counterparts who sell out communities and do nothing for their constituents.

It seems that once released from elected office, these hacks have no skills for anything else except to write for a local media outlet. GO AWAY.
March 30, 7:45 am
THINK from Queens says:
DEMAND elected officials who will actually do their job and stick up for their community and their constituents instead of selling out like Crowley.

As the above said GO AWAY FAR AWAY, no wants you or cares about you.
March 30, 7:48 am
Bob from Glen oaks says:
As president of the largest Co-op in the world, I support Crowley and her cronies to milk taxpayers fund.
March 30, 12:04 pm
THINK 2 from Queens says:
While yes, there should be more women in city government, there actually should be more moral, hard-working, ethical and non-greedy women in office, unlike the hack, Elizabeth Crowley, who wrote this. So let's look at some of the hack women just in Queens who have either done NOTHING for their communities, stole & cheated or sold out their constituents and their community:

1. Former and DEAD as a door knob major idiot, Helen Marshall (hope you are rotting like you helped rot Queens).
2. Hack former Queens BP Claire "bulldog" Schulman.
3. Current TOTAL DO NOTHING, Queens BP Melinda Katz.
4. Crooked former Jamaica Senator Shirley Huntley - one year in prison.
5. COMPLETE WASTE Assembly Member Vivian Cook.
6. Another hack, Forest Hills City Councilmember Karen Kosklowitz.
7. Hack assemblymember from garbage strewn Jamaica, Alicia Hyndman.
8. The hack writer of this article, former councilmember and sellout Elizabeth Crowley.

See will don't need more women in city government, we NEED moral, upstanding, hard-working, elected officials be it male or female, who actually care about their community and constituents and will fight for what is right, now sell-out to lobbyist or real estate developers, otherwise not a government prostitute who would sell their mother's false teeth if there was money to be made.

Crowley, NO ONE is interested in any of your constant BULLSH*T. Just go away, far away.
March 31, 9:46 am
THINK 3 from Queens says:
Demand more HONEST, HARDWORKING lawmakers in city government who actually know the meaning of PUBLIC SERVANTS, not like the hack Crowley who wrote this dribble.
March 31, 9:47 am
Off with her Head from Queens says:
I DEMAND the head of Elizabeth Crowley on a silver platter for crimes against Queens and the tax payers who footed her salary
March 31, 5:06 pm
Take up ARMS and Storm City Hall from USA says:
Why stop with her head, how about Melinda Katz and especially BILL DEBLASIO.
March 31, 5:07 pm

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