There are people out there who think that politicians don’t stand up for their constituents.
While that’s certainly true of some, there are politicians still able to connect with the people they represent and fight for the things most important to them. Thankfully, some of these representatives are on a level accessible to many advocates and concerned citizens (how else would they know?) and you can always find some here.
While the U.S. doesn’t come close to cracking the top 10 list when it comes to seeing women represented in government, you can be sure that there are still people who are interested in women’s issues. You definitely don’t have to be a woman to campaign for women’s issues, but it’s always nice seeing someone who looks like you in office.
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Maloney is a member of the House Caucus on Women’s Issues, which is already an ideal start. The group works to draft legislation that affects women in living America, although some delegates choose to focus on international women’s rights and equity as well. Given her track record of passing legislation that benefits women and children, it’s safe to assume that she’s with us.
Some of her highlights include working on the Debbie Smith Act, which would provide government funding for law enforcement to test backlogged rape kits, and sponsoring the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, part of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The Campus SaVE Act, as it’s better known, gives college campuses standards on working with victims of sexual assault and rape, and guarantees counseling, access to equal legal assistance for all parties involved and medical care.
Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Joining Maloney on the caucus is Matsui, who serves as one of the co-chairs. Matsui is known for taking a strong stance on supporting LGBT rights and other major civil rights issues, from the beginning of her career. She voted yes on prohibiting discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation, and signed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prove it.
Matsui has taken a stance on abortion, with groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America stating that she is strongly pro-choice. In the decade since becoming a representative, Matsui has tried to co-sponsor legislation that would provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims, and ensure funding for contraceptives via the Prevention Services Act.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
While Norton is unable to vote on any final passage of legislation (she’s a delegate for Washington D.C., which is a territory, not a state), she’s used her local and national prominence to speak out on behalf of marginalized communities in the United States. As a member of the House of Representatives, she’s spoken out in favor of providing accurate and comprehensive sex education to teenagers, as evident by signing off on the Responsible Education About Life Act.
She also cares deeply about issues facing parents in America — in that same bill, she supported six full weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees, including those who adopt or foster children. In addition to her legislative work, though, she’s written a pretty cool piece on being a woman in America.
If you were hoping to see your local legislator on this list and didn’t, don’t fret! You can always check out where they stand on issues important to you by researching their track records online, and write to them if you ever want to see something changed on your behalf.