SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two women in the Missouri House of Representatives are hoping to push the importance of women in politics.
Both representatives spoke with students at Drury University about barriers, challenges, and the hardships women face in politics and in the public eye.
“I think it’s really great to have both of our perspectives here and I think folks will be surprised at how much we agree on,” House Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said. “We’re disproportionate, we are underrepresented and I believe we should have as much diversity as possible.”
“I hope to lend explanation to the fact that you can be young, you can be a lady, and you can be a member of the Republican Party and make effective change for good,” Rep. Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove) said. “Often people question my experience.
“Times when folks don’t treat me in a respectful manner, I can still smile and speak the truth and represent the fact that you can be 27-years-old and run for the House of Representatives from rural Missouri.”
Quade also agrees with the idea that women in politics are held to a different standard than their male counterparts.
“We have to consider what we wear every day and that makes a difference,” Quade said. “My youngest was a toddler when I decided to start running for office. There’s a lot with that. There’s a lot of emotional pieces with that and, of course, leaving your kids for five months out of the year is not easy.”
Both representatives are hopeful things will soon change, starting with students like Kristen Sawyer, a senior political science student at Drury.
“We are intelligent, we are outspoken, we should be represented equally in government,” Sawyer said. “I’d love to work on a campaign for a president. My future, hopefully, would be in women’s advocacy, both for women wanting to run for office and just women, here, in our community.”
“You only let your age and your gender define you if you want to,” Kelly said. “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”