By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
The annual Arnie Talks launched this week on November 2, in the Library Grand Reading Room, with the first talk from Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Shannon Jenkins.
“Run, Baby, Run (Or Why Women Don’t But Should Run For Political Office),” was the theme of the talk that moved women to run for political office.
A crowd of eager guests filled the room as Jenkins got in front the podium. Jenkins opened up by first identifying the rising problem we have today and that being why women should run for office.
“This is the time women lose their ambition. In high school I wrote an essay saying how I wanted to run for office and then got to college and no longer wanted to,” said Jenkins. “I want to prevent this from happening.”
Ambition is everything and that is one issue women face in the choosing of running for office or not. There is quite a gender gap in terms of political ambition and Jenkins said, “Women have a lower tolerance for risk.” Photos, graphs and statistics painted the screen in her PowerPoint giving guests a visual of what today’s offices look like.
The issue continues to interfere with race as well. Currently, there are no black women in congress and we have to ask ourselves, “Are we making a move in the right direction?”
Furthermore, the representation of women was discussed in depth, and how there are two forms: descriptive versus substantive. It is proven that women “constitute work differently.”
Jenkins provided the audience with her own personal experience, how she has run for office without the drive to win it, but came back and had the drive and want, and took the win. She said it “Starts on a personal level.” At the time she made some conclusions on what prevented her from running, one being that her kids go to school, and used the same excuses that should not prohibit women from running.
UMass Dartmouth students enjoyed the talk and felt it was very well worth their time. “I like how the talk encouraged girls to go into politics,” said nursing major Joceyln Aguirre. “I know most girls from a young age are playing with dolls and being told they are going to be a teacher when they grow up, versus a police officer,” said Joceyln. “It breaks the gender roles.”
One analogy that was shown was a car on a road and that was where she was going to draw her whole speech together. “The road with the potholes are going to win,” are words that inspired many to keep going. She further went on to state that “Women don’t think they have the qualifications to run for office. It could be the family structure. Parents don’t talk about it to kids.”
She explained that no one likes raising money for campaigns, more women are less likely to run because they have children. One graph showed the differentiation between the funds for campaigns between men and women. Men were clearly presented higher, with women on the lower spectrum.
Jenkins said we had to fix this road and had us asking ourselves what can we do, which she said is quite simple. “Ask a woman to run for office.”
Aguirre was inspired to go out and do just that. “It made we want to tell my niece to be the next president,” said Aguirre. “I thought about her during the speech.”
Jenkins stressed if you know a family or friend who has the perfect package to run, tell them, remind them ever so often. Most of the time they will say no on the first try; however, if they keep receiving that phrase they may break down their barrier and take a stance.