More women than ever ran for office in 2012, making it a record-breaking year for women in American politics. A total of 98 women were elected. Yet even with these successes, women are still significantly under-represented, comprising only 18 percent of Congressional seats.
After identifying a similar disparity on environmental boards, which led to the founding of Rachel’s Network, Winsome McIntosh recognizes an urgent need for more women in Congress. Unequal representation carries repercussions not only for women, but all sectors of society. “Having learned about the beneficial impact women have on decision-making at all levels, I’ve become convinced that our future progress as a country depends on bringing gender parity to our political leadership,” Winsome says. “We owe it to ourselves and to the women of America to move towards making this a reality!”
Winsome finds the 2012 election cycle encouraging while acknowledging that more work needs to be done. “With 20 women in the Senate, I see a real difference. These women are commanding attention from the media, and are a true caucus. Their focus on issues related to family, sexual harassment, health, economics, and the environment has been magnified. I believe more women in elected office will continue to help tip the balance of power,” she says.
Winsome McIntosh is the founder of Rachel’s Network and board member of the McIntosh Foundation. She and her husband are founders of ClientEarth, the first public interest law firm for the environment in the European Union. Winsome is board chair of ClientEarth and Defenders of Wildlife, and also serves on the boards of She Should Run Foundation, the Kappa Delta Foundation, and Alliance for Justice.