Women in Office Bring a Much-Needed Perspective to COVID-19

 

Elected officials are critical to the COVID-19 recovery efforts, representing constituents’ interests in plans to reduce the impact of the virus. Voters think women represent their communities well, and women leaders are showing it with policies that consider all Americans.

Data shows that communities of color are at higher risk for health and economic challenges because of COVID-19, and women leaders are keeping this in mind. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Robin Kelly, Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have introduced the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, which requires the CDC to collect and report racial, ethnic, and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has formed a “racial equity rapid response team” of experts and community leaders to protect neighborhoods likely to be highly affected. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is supporting the unique needs of Native Americans in her state by increasing field hospitals and triage centers in remote areas.

There are also disproportionate effects on women, and women politicians are helping by working on policies that directly help women. Recently, New York Rep. Grace Meng introduced a bill to provide menstrual hygiene products for the homeless under FEMA’s emergency food and shelter program. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Amy Klobuchar co-wrote a letter to Senate leadership calling for $300 million in federal funding for domestic violence resources, and the Democratic Women’s Caucus leadership has called for more funds and policies to specifically address the urgent needs of women.

Research shows that when voters think women elected officials serve in differently from men, they are more likely to support women candidates. In this crisis, women leaders are proving they bring a much-needed perspective. With women stepping up to lead COVID-19 responses, it’s clear the difference women make – and why we need more in office.

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