Editor’s Note: Stephanie Schriock is the president of EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.
Stephanie Schriock: In 2012, voters elected more women to Congress than ever before
Schriock: Despite progress, there is still a "men only" sign on the door to the Oval Office
She says EMILY's List is launching a campaign to put a woman in the White House
Schriock: If Hillary Clinton decides not to run, we still many women leaders to choose from
In 2012 the American people sent a message. They elected more women than ever to Congress, shattering glass ceilings across the nation and making it clear that this is a country that is ready for women’s leadership.
It’s happening because voters know female leaders have the right priorities. They’ve fought for policies like the Violence Against Women Act and equal pay for equal work. Female leaders are the reason we have laws that ended gender discrimination in education.
But even though we know women’s leadership has helped create so much progress, there is still a “men only” sign on the door to the Oval Office.
Across the country, Americans know it’s time to change that. It’s time to capitalize on the demand for women’s leadership, harness the energy and ignite a movement that will put a woman in the White House.
Today, EMILY’s List is launching a campaign to make that a reality. Our community of 2 million women and men across the country has worked to elect women to offices up and down the ballot.
In my personal journey, I know how difficult it is to put women in leadership roles. The first campaign I managed was my own. I ran many times and lost many times when I ran for class president in my high school. In my junior year, I decided that I should run for student body president, because it wasn’t just my class voting but the entire school. I put together a campaign plan that targeted only the freshmen and sophomore votes. I even got the younger sister of my opponent to join my campaign. I won.
In the process, I learned my first campaign lesson: Never underestimate the power of women. There’s a sister, and there’s sisterhood.
Now, I get to see that sisterhood at work every day. In the past 28 years EMILY’s List has become the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, and in that time we’ve done extensive research on women’s leadership and women’s priorities.
Our most recent polling, conducted on likely 2016 voters in battleground states, proves without a doubt that the American people are ready for a female chief executive.
Ninety percent of the people we polled say they would vote for a woman for president and 75% say a female president would be a good thing for the country. Of those surveyed, more thought a female president than a male president would be likely to put families ahead of politics and end partisan bickering. That’s something we’ve known about women since we started helping them run for office in the 1980s.
These female leaders have fought – and fought hard – to take a place at the table and make laws that improve the lives of American women and families. The results are undeniable. Because of this we know, our community knows, and countless Americans across the country know, that now is the time for a woman to be at the head of the table.
So who will it be? There’s one name on all our minds: Hillary Clinton. Voters across the country are excited about her possible run. But if she decides not to run, we still have a deep bench of incredible female leaders to choose from.
From Cabinet secretaries and senators to the many female governors we’ll have after 2014; there are numerous women who are ready to take on the challenge of leading our nation.
Long after we’ve elected the first female president, we’re going to keep electing even more American women, building a pipeline of state legislators and members of Congress, mayors and governors and senators, who will work their way up the ranks and be the second and 10th female presidents.
We are standing on the edge of history. We are standing on the shoulders of the senators and suffragettes, civil rights activists and founding mothers, who have been the backbone of this great country. It’s time for us to take the next step and make electing a female president part of our national story.
When a woman runs for president, she will hear this one thing loud and clear from millions of women and men: We stand with you – and we believe you can win.
America is ready to elect its first Madam President.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephanie Schriock.