Stacey Abrams, female politicians encourage girls to run for office

OliviaSullivan

Stacey Abrams was featured as the keynote speaker in mid-December at Girls Inc.’s annual Lunch for the Girls. Abrams is an author, entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader whose 2018 campaign for Governor of Georgia stirred up national interest. Girls Inc., a not-for-profit organization for girls ages 5 to 18, advocates for “all girls to be strong, smart and bold.”

The main focus of Abrams’ speech was her three principles to live by: “Number one: be fierce. Number two: be foolish. Lastly, be friends.”

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Fierce, Foolish & Friends • Stacey Abrams, political leader, speaks at the annual luncheon for Girls Inc. on Dec. 16. Female politicians continue to inspire young women to run for elected office, including Josie Golka ’22 and Emily Saalfeld ’20. Photo by Olivia Sullivan.

Abrams especially encourages girls to be involved in their community and to consider a career in public service. When asked of her advice for girls, she said, “Don’t wait to be asked to run for office. When you feel you are ready, run.”

Out of 202 responses, 23.7 percent of Marian girls would consider running for elected office, according to the January Network survey.

Sophomore Josie Golka was one of them. Her experience as a class officer has been one of the factors that inspired her to consider a career in public service. “I love government and current events, and I really believe in being the change you want to see. I think I’ve been able to experience what that can look like through student government,” Golka said.

Golka said she was inspired by Senator Elizabeth Warren, but that “most politicians are admirable people.” “They usually aren’t perfect, but they get up and they fight the fight for what they believe needs to be done.    

I think that it’s a pretty admirable step to take to defend and work for your own values,” Golka said.

Senior Emily Saalfeld has also thought about going into politics. Saalfeld said she believes that women in politics are often held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. “I think they are expected to make good decisions, and if it does not work out, they are criticized more,” Saalfeld said.

Saalfeld admires women like Nancy Reagan and Ivanka Trump and those who “are trustworthy and able to make smart decisions for the country,” she said.

“I think what is admirable [in politicians] is when what is talked about in debates actually is fulfilled, and the politicians follow through with their actions.”

Abrams wants to instill confidence in others and inspire them with her outlook on her losing the 2018 election: “I don’t believe running for governor was a mistake. The mistake is if it stops me from letting it happen again.”

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