Last night I went to an event run by “Women in Politics” and the National Council of Women. The speakers were the Hon Louise Upston, Sue Moroney, Mayor Julie Hardaker, Holly Snape and Anjum Raham. It was great to hear the experience of other women who have stood for and won or missed out on elected seats. Putting yourself out there and talking yourself up is not natural to most women. You’ve heard of Tall Poppy Syndrome haven’t you? We find it harder to say “YES… I can do it, and I can do it well”. Often we struggle with the conflict of family time if we make the decision to run for public office.
We are completely under-estimated, and our tendencies for empathy, lack of ego, fairness and balance bring alot of value to a Council table. Women are great leaders. While the reasons for running, budget, abilities and personal circumstance mean we have a different journey to get there – there is no rhyme or reason to campaigning and winning an elected seat. The hardest step to make is making the commitment to back youself; do this; and put yourself up for scrutiny and criticism of things like – shock horror – your appearance. We’re on a back foot that’s for sure. But… I’m joining a league of other women who have done it, and who do it well. I am fortunate enough to have 110% commitment and support from my husband to pursue the seat – proving that you can have it all.
Before I go I also want to mention again Anjum Raham. I vaguely remember reading about her in the last local elections, but hadn’t come across her “in real life” before. I found her openness and honesty of her experience in campaigning particularly profound. And, I guess that’s what the main aim of the evening was for – which was for sharing experience, and support for other women. The greatest way to effect change is politics. We need women in politics. Acknowledgement also for Angela O’Leary founder of Women in Politics.