BATON ROUGE, LA (BR-PROUD) – Women in public office took over the capitol last week. It’s an initiative to get more female voices heard in Louisiana politics. In this week’s Louisiana women, Carly Laing talked with two organizations leading the push for change.
More female voices, that’s the motivation behind a new resolution at the state capitol.
“It was a hole in the political field that I noticed really needed to be filled,” said Renee Amar, Executive Director of Louisiana Women Lead.
Thanks to recent efforts, June 3 is now ‘Women in Public Office Day’.
“In 2015 our legislature had the nation’s lowest female participation rate. So, I think it’s a huge step that we’re marking this day,” said Tamara Agins, Executive Director Emerge Louisiana.
The state has groups like Louisiana Women Lead and Emerge Louisiana who help get women of both parties elected to public office.
“We have cultural issue where there are still people that believe that women don’t belong in public office. It’s just a stunning statement to be heard in the year 2000 much less 2021. But it is a reality for where we live in Louisiana,” said Amar.
Amar said over 50% of Louisiana voters are women but make up less than 20% of our legislature.
“So that is your democrat women and your republican women and so the largest majority of your legislature are men even though they don’t make up the largest majority of voters,” said Amar.
Agins said that staggering statistic needs to change.
“We believe that our democracy is strongest when it’s most representative. If the government is going to be for the people, then it needs to have more women at the table,” said Agins.
Having female voices in policy is a benefit no matter the party.
“So we’re really trying to fundamentally change the way Louisiana politics is done by working together, by standing up for each other, sharing resources and pulling each other forward,” said Agins.
And this push extends to congress.
“And Julia Letlow, thank goodness, won that election last year so she is our only serving congresswomen currently,” said Amar.
“There aren’t any women currently serving in public office in the entire state and we don’t have any democratic women in our congressional delegation,” said Agins.