Women in Politics, Why it Matters for Public Health

The "Women in Politics, Why it Matters for Public Health" session took place at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting 2017 on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from 12.30-2.00 PM. This session was presented in partnership with the American Public Health Association.

It was wonderful to convene such an engaged and diverse group to hear from our moderator Ms. Constance Franklin (Program Manager, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), and our panelists, Ms. Jina Sanone, (Founder and President, HerTerm), Ms. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak (Inupiaq activist), Ms. Jacqueline Patterson (Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program), and Ms. Cindy Zeldin (Candidate for Georgia Insurance Commissioner) who shared their experiences and their insights into the various ways that politics and womens leadership intersect with public and global health.

KEY MESSAGES:

  • Women bring an inherently unique perspective to every situation and women have a responsibility to be engaged and shape their communities, both for the generations that preceded us, and for those to come.

  • Women represent half the population and are educated at higher numbers than men since the 1980s. Women are completely qualified to be involved in politics and should consider running but often don't run because they feel "imposter syndrome" and self doubt, and they also face more barriers and gender bias in the political arena.

  • Women of color face an additional level of complexity that needs to be addressed, and we also need to encourage women to run or to vote for other women who are running.

  • In the relationship between politics and public health, many skills can be trained but advocates of public health with knowledge are needed.

  • Don't be intimidated by the process. If you are a woman wanting to get involved in politics, there are resources and ways. Begin locally by joining boards to get comfortable and get your voice heard, and there are always groups like "She Runs" that can work with you and help you to identify what steps are needed. And never forget that our influence at the local level is vast!

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