Students, faculty voice need for women in politics

In a state where Shelley Moore Capito is the first female elected to a sitting U.S. Senator position and Carol Miller is the first female elected for her seat as a U.S. Congresswoman, it is essential to realize the importance of women in politics, Marshall University faculty and students said.

In June, it will be exactly one hundred years since women gained the right to vote in the United States. Now, female voices are more vital than ever, according to Claire Snyder, program coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Center at Marshall University. 

“We see women representatives in Congress definitely supporting bills around women and families, around paid family leave, around taxes on menstruation products and violence against women, so we really think it’s important for those voices to be heard,” Snyder said. 

Snyder said the votes of women, especially young women, need to be recognized. She put it plainly: “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.” Snyder also spoke of how young adults may wonder what role they play in voting.

“I think there’s been a lot of political divisiveness going on,” Snyder said. “There have been a lot of young people disillusioned and wondering if their vote matters, does their voice matter?”

Last spring, Stephanie Rogner and Anna Williams became the first double female Student Body Presidential ticket to be elected at Marshall. Rogner said the needs of the people they were going to be serving was their number one priority when they decided to run. 

“When Anna and I are in these roles, it wasn’t for ourselves and it wasn’t necessarily to prove anything,” Rogner said. “It was more that we were ready to lead with our hearts and we understood the importance of solving student issues on campus and that’s what we did and what we continue to do.”

Rogner also said before she ran she had to think about all of the challenges she could be facing. 

“There’s sometime this feeling of trying to reach that capacity and reach those expectations and it has to do with looking in the mirror and looking at a broad scope of what are the needs and can I provide those needs?” she said.

In the upcoming Democratic Presidential Primary, young women will have the opportunity to vote for two females: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. 

Snyder said young women have to look at the candidates who are going to improve their lives for years to come.

“They are facing challenges that are going to affect them for years to come, from climate change to the economy to hopefully some revitalization in Appalachia,” Snyder said. 

Kyra Biscarner can be contacted at [email protected].