It’s no secret the recent midterm election broke records. Not only did we see the highest youth
voter turnout for a midterm election in 104 years, but more than 100 women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, including a record number of women of color.
Thanks to a staggering voter turnout and a record-breaking number of women on the ballot, the United States political scene is a boys’ club no more. Notable wins include Ayanna Pressley, the first black congresswoman elected from Massachusetts; Marsha Blackburn, the first woman senator from Tennessee; Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, the first Latinx congresswomen elected from Texas; Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim woman elected to Congress; and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, the first Native American women elected to Congress.
In Minnesota, Maria Regan Gonzalez became Richfield’s first Latina mayor; Mandy Meisner became the first person of color elected to serve on the Anoka County Board; and Hennepin County elected its first two commissioners of color, Angela Conley and Irene Fernando. Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American woman elected to Congress; Angie Craig became the state’s first openly LGBTQ+ Congressperson; and Peggy Flanagan became the highest ranking indigenous woman ever when she was elected lieutenant governor.
“There is an opportunity for us to do so much more for folks who feel like they haven't had a voice. I'm honored and humbled beyond belief,” Flanagan said upon winning.
Lack of Representation is Old Hat for Ad Women
These wins are politically groundbreaking, for obvious reasons. According to research conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), women in office are more likely to work across party lines, be highly responsive to constituent concerns, and prioritize health and education.
But, beyond that, having more women in office means more members of our community finally have a seat at the table. Up until the election numbers rolled in last week, white men in the United States held 65 percent of all elected offices, despite accounting for only 31 percent of the population. This uneven ratio is all-too-familiar for women working in the advertising industry.
Much like our political leadership, leadership roles at ad agencies are largely occupied by men. In fact, The 3% Movement was specifically founded to draw attention to the fact that, up until a few years ago, only 3 percent of Creative Directors in the U.S. were women. Despite the fact that women account for nearly 80 percent of consumer spending and 60 percent of social media activity, men still dominate the playing field in advertising, much like they do in the political arena.
Reclaiming Our Time
For generations, women’s voices in the United States have been stifled. And, in too many ways, they still are. But, after last week’s historic midterm election, the playing field may finally even out. The diverse voices that create the fabric of our city and state are slowly but surely starting to be heard, and, if you ask me, that’s an invaluable win.