“These voices are going to change everything. The women running are authentic with their own unique stories; they are embracing who they are, and as a result, voters are embracing them,” said Stephanie Schriock, during her Lecture at the 14th Annual Carl Ortman Perkins Lecture Wednesday night.
Stephanie Schriock, an MNSU alumna and President of the political action committee, Emily’s List, made the journey to Mankato despite the challenging April snowstorm. The Women’s Center and Gender and Women’s Studies Department hosted the lecture from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.
The women being referenced in the above quote are the women who procured a historic number of seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in the November congressional election. Schriock went on to discuss the increase in voter turnout by women, particularly women of color, who casted their ballots in record breaking numbers the last election. Many of whom were voting for the very first time.
“The challenging part of my job is that politics can be so divisive, and it can be hard to keep your chin up when things get nasty, especially online and with social media. We need to learn to recognize that we’re all American people, wanting opportunities and change within our country,” said Schriock.
Emily’s List is primarily dedicated to establishing democratic pro-choice women in office.
However, Schriock discussed the need for a difference of opinions in government. The discussion showcased the diversity of our newly elected congress, and the different perspectives they can bring to the table.
“Culturally, a lot of women have it in their heads that women should not run for office, but it’s the diversity of professions that we need now more than ever. We need nurses, pediatricians and teachers. We need people with different opinions that are willing to learn and listen; those two skills are what make for a great public servant.”
Other topics Schriock addressed were safety concerns with women candidates, and family planning options for women while running for election. Schriock hopes to balance the scales more evenly with equal number of men and women candidates in upcoming elections, and even hopes to embrace more individuals who may not conform to stereotypical gender norms.
“There’s going to be a huge culture change happening within our government and with our elected officials,” said Schriock. “The best part of my job is the fact that I get to walk into my office with extraordinary women who are committed to change. I can honestly say that I have the best job in this country.”
Header photo by Samuel Oluwadoromi | MSU Reporter.