Despite the barriers women face each day in the political realm and in the world, Louisiana Legislature declares June 3rd as “Women in Public Office Day”
This week at the Louisiana Legislature, we celebrated women in public office and encouraged more women to serve their communities. We celebrate women from all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities who have already made significant contributions to the state and who understand women play a vital role in their communities.
Louisiana boasts several trailblazing women such as Governor Kathleen Blanco, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, and Senator Mary Landrieu who have served in office. Also, Commissioner of Elections, Suzanne Terrell, served as a statewide center-right female elected official and only this past year have we been able to add to our ranks again with Julia Letlow, the first Republican
woman from Louisiana to serve in Congress. It’s easy to see that for women, especially center-right women, the list is incredibly short.
One would think that looking at our history and the current small percentage of center-right women serving in the legislature that everyone would be on board to change things, to move the culture, and to convince hearts and minds that everyone needs to have a seat at the table. But that is not the case in Louisiana.
We still have segments of our society who do not believe women face barriers when running for office. We know without a doubt that many women, especially center-right women, face blowback from the old guard in their communities when they mention running for office. Some still believe that women should be at home and in the kitchen or that women do not belong in elected office. After all, women still hear the sexual innuendos and endure sexual harassment in the year 2021. Look no further than the recent allegations of rampant sexual harassment and abuse from a major institution in our state.
While the state and nation faced a virus that plagued us for more than a year, women in Louisiana have been fighting to have a voice as sexual harassment and abuse scandals plague our state. This plague is not new but has instead been a part of our state since its inception. Women have watched as cover-ups by those in power have silenced the voices of women for decades. It is not just a minor change that needs to be made, our problems require a huge shift in our state’s culture.
Our organization is grateful for the leadership of the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus over the last year with their chair, Senator Beth Mizell, leading the charge through public hearings where women could have their voices heard. We have many brave women serving in public office that has given other women a voice in policy-making to ensure that women, especially center-right women, have their seat at the table.
Louisiana Women Lead thanks Representative Paula Davis and Senator Heather Cloud for their leadership in offering resolutions to celebrate women serving their communities. They, like us, understand and hope that one day every person in our state will understand the value of having every voice and every background at the table. We need to ensure that barriers are broken down, opportunities are provided, and women are empowered to step outside of their comfort zones to serve in public office. We need center-right women to reach their next goal and to be the next generation of leaders that are desperately needed in Louisiana.
Louisiana Women Lead is guided by trailblazing women serving in public office, serving their communities, and playing active roles in the political process. We are grateful for all women who work in this space to get more women elected to office. We need more of you…more diverse backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and of course, more center-right women to run for all levels of public office. We need more of you to serve. We celebrate each of these women today. We celebrate you every day but especially on June 3, now hereby declared as Women in Public Office Day.
To read the full resolutions, please click on the bills here: HR 157 and SR 189.
Renee Amar, Founder and Executive Director, Louisiana Women Lead
Louisiana Women Lead was formed in 2020 to engage more center-right women in politics. Lead’s goal is to increase the number of women elected or appointed to leadership positions in Louisiana by breaking down barriers, create a statewide network for support, and provide tools to women so they have a leg up when running for or being appointed to office. For more information, visit http://www.louisianawomenlead.org.