Written By: Shantera L. Chatman, MBA
Several women have thrown their hats into the ring to run in the Democratic presidential primary, hoping to become the nominee for 2020. Waging an election campaign is difficult for anyone, but women who want to run in the current climate will have a difficult time having their voices heard. The media, the political infrastructure, and the culture all have the potential to interfere with a candidate’s message. A lazy focus on clothes, hairstyles, ethnicity, or national origin distract from discussions about the preferred policies, professional experience, and track records of these women. Women who care about how our country is run, and by whom, should demand that ALL candidates for office be respected as serious contenders, and be allowed to make their cases without the media, the party system, and the culture distorting their voices.
As activists, we must hold ourselves accountable for the protection of these women’s voices (at least as much as we can). Anyone who wants these women’s voices to be heard more clearly should do the following:
- Make a list of important issues and examine the candidates’ positions considering those issues
- Focus on one candidate at a time and hear them all out before comparing
- Seek out longer-form interviews and discussions instead of sound bites
- Declutter social media accounts that serve only to work up emotions rather than inform
- Engage with lazy reporting and redirect the conversation by contacting reporters via social media who play into the old narratives. Call them out on undermining these candidates’ messages.
Shantera L. Chatman, MBA is a the Founder & Executive Director, The Chatman Women’s Foundation Managing Partner, C+A Global Group. She is also an Author & Coach