NFWL’s own Jody Thomas was recently quoted in an article about the need for more women in the Pennsylvania legislature.
“According to the National Foundation for Women Legislators, fundraising and a lack of support from political parties are two of the largest barriers women face when getting elected. But another barrier is the gender roles that still exist in society.
“I mean, let’s face it, the women in America, by and large, are still the ones who take care of the children and run the house,” says Jody Thomas, NFWL executive director. “So that’s a big drawback, the difficulty of the work-life balance and being able to be out of town for days at a time to go to the state capitol.”
And even when women don’t view themselves as responsible for traditional gender roles, Thomas says some of their colleagues are quick to remind them.
“There’s still a lot of biases,” says Thomas. “We have a state senator in South Carolina, the only woman senator in South Carolina, and last year one of her male colleagues made the comment that ‘Women should stay home and be barefoot and pregnant.’”
Despite setbacks like these, Thomas said progress has been made, and she hopes efforts to get women elected at the national level will begin to trickle down to seats in the state legislature.
“When you think about it, it took 72 years of struggle to get the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,” says Thomas. “This year, we already have two women running for president, so we are making major strides. But we just can’t stop.”