2018 Was Historic Year For Women Elected to Congress, But Activists Aren’t Stopping There

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts and Get Her Elected founder Lily Herman join Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

2018 was deemed “the year of the woman,” a label spurred by the election of over 100 women to Congress and a record number of women showing up to the polls.

The record-shattering midterm elections solidified the power of a mounting political movement of women in this country, a movement that only intensified after the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, and Lily Herman, founder of Get Her Elected, are both at the forefront of this movement and hope to expand on the progress made in 2018. 

Watts and Herman are both in Detroit this week as featured speakers at the Net Impact Conference at TCF Center. 

“Women are qualified to hold elected office” says Watts on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.

Watts says that a good portion of her work is simply defending women’s right to a seat at the table. Whether it be overt sexism, micro-aggressions, or systemic barriers, Watts and Herman acknowledge that female candidates often face unique challenges and scrutiny on the campaign trail.

Herman says this is why Get Her Elected works to not only encourage women to get in the race but also provides candidates with skills and consulting that help navigate the barriers to entry that many women face. 

“We see a lot of candidates, obviously dealing with sexism on the campaign trail, racism on the campaign trail, ageism comes up a lot, especially for younger candidates,” she says.

Herman also speaks to the importance of candidates addressing issues that motivate women in particular.

To that point, Watts says, “Guns are the number one issue among suburban women across party lines.” Moms Demand Action encourages women to harness the power of their vote as well as their pocket book.

Both Watts and Herman urge candidates to address the concerns of women constituents directly. In that same vein, they also call for women to demand action from their elected officials.  

Watts implores women to leverage their voting power, stating, “There will be hell to pay at the ballot box.” 

Click on the player above to hear Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts and Get Her Elected founder Lily Herman on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.

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  • Detroit Today

    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.