August 26, 1920 was one of the greatest days in American history, and will long be celebrated as the date that women gained the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It’s almost unbelievable to me that there was actually a time in our country when women weren’t allowed to vote. Today, women — and especially mothers — are some of the most talented, productive and popular politicians in our country. It’s hard to imagine government on any level without the contributions of female elected officials.
Women often make formidable political candidates, but it’s my opinion that mothers have qualities and talents that make them particularly well-suited to running for office. Below is a list of five reasons why mothers make some of the best political candidates, but the list could be much longer.
A special note for all mothers out there: I hope this article really does make you consider running for office, even if it’s just for your local school board or city council. I think there are many talented and intelligent moms out there who could make our communities much better places to live if they would only put themselves up as candidates.
1. Natural Compassion and Willpower
A successful politician needs to balance an ability to be compassionate and nurturing with an iron resolution that never falters in the face of protest. Mothers are naturally equipped with both of these qualities; one only needs to watch a mom as she deals with the changing demands of raising children to realize that.
Experienced mothers can transition seamlessly from nurturing to discipline and back again as needs require . . . a talent that serves politicians well. To help people in the public arena, you have to have both genuine empathy and a strong resolve to fight for what’s right.
Few undertakings are as stressful and nerve-wracking as running for office, and mothers are already endowed with an unmatched and battle-tested ability for patience. Campaign trail tribulations that would make some men dizzy with anxiety might be nothing more than a speed bump for a veteran mom.
After the political campaign is over and it’s time to do the job of an elected official, the motherly gift of patience comes in even more handy. Successfully interacting with constituents, allies and opponents in politics is, to say the least, a consistent struggle.
3. Female Intuition
Call it womanly insight, perception or whatever you want . . . the fact remains that women often naturally possess a certain intuitiveness that is rare in men. Combine this innate ability with the rigorous training of motherhood, and you get some impressive results in perception.
The application of a mother’s intuition to politics is easy to grasp. The ability to know not just what to do but when to do it; getting a good read on what people are all about when you first meet them . . . in these situations and many more, a mom’s insight is a valuable campaigning tool.
4. Communication Skills
The ability to effectively communicate and encourage others to see things your way is one mark of great political talent, and it’s widely known that women generally possess better innate communication skills than men.
That’s not to say that males are grunting cavemen; on the contrary, good communication skills are largely the result of practice, determination and education.
All things being equal, however, mothers have a slight genetic advantage when it comes to grasping the nuances of communication and applying them to a successful political campaign.
The political consultant in me wanted badly to place this in the number one spot in the list, but I resisted the urge (it’s awfully bland and scientific, after all).
It’s a fact that in most contemporary elections in the United States, a female can expect to gain a few percentage points at the polls just for the fact that she’s a woman. The reason why this happens is open for debate, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that women are becoming a more reliable and passionate voting block.
Add motherhood to the mix, and that makes a female candidate even more human and appealing to voters.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that a female candidate is going to win every election without hard work and good planning. It is, however, another encouraging reason why more moms should run for office!