Why America Needs More Young Democratic Women

by Guest Blogger Emily Spangler, high school freshman

It’s 2012, yet women’s health is being threatened by bad legislation, the percentage of women in Congress stands at an appallingly low number of 16.8 percent and women politicians are still judged on what they look like rather than what they have to say.

This country needs more young, Democratic women to be ambitious, to step up to the plate and to say, “I’m going to run for Congress and no one can stop me!”

Over the years, I’ve been asked hundreds of times what I want to be when I am an adult. Usually, kids answer that they want to be a doctor, an artist, a chef, a fashion designer or a simple, “I don’t know yet”.  My answer since fifth grade has been a Congresswoman. I learned what a Congress member was and all the duties they had, and I knew this was the answer for me.

Many thought that this was a phase, but it certainly wasn’t. I am going to be a high school freshman this upcoming school year and I still want to be a Congresswoman. Now, you may ask, why a Congresswoman? I have plenty of reasons and I’m glad to tell you why!

The percentage of women currently serving in Congress is 16.8 percent. That number doesn’t quite satisfy me enough. Illinois only has TWO women representing the state — one is a Democrat and one is a Republican. That statistic is outrageous to me.

Also, so many things still need to be done in Congress for women.  The ERA needs to pass, the Violence Against Women Act needs to pass, women need and deserve equal pay, etc.  All of these things need to be done by women. You cannot have these pieces of legislation pass and get signed into law by just having men vote for them. Women need a say in this, too – especially because these bills have to do with women.

That’s the biggest thing: Women need to stand up and recognize that we DO have a say on bills and laws that affect us. This is 2012. Women have a voice.  We also have a choice to use it or not. But, guess what? We really DO need to use our voices.

How often do you hear about young, Democratic women that are teenagers getting involved and having an interest in politics? Yeah, I know what your response is:  That’s a rare thing.  I understand, because I am a young, Democratic woman teenager myself. Rarely do I see young women my age out helping campaigns and doing things for campaigns, such as organizing meet and greets, going door to door, etc. Also, I rarely see young women my age going on Facebook and Twitter talking about the issues that face America and how we can solve this country’s problems. But, I have to say, the most important thing I rarely see is young women saying they want to run for office.

I always question why many teenagers are not involved in politics. I have been giving it some thought and here’s why: Turn on C-SPAN. You see old, white, rich men EVERYWHERE. They’re in hearings, on the House and Senate floor, in hallways, at press conferences, etc. They’re EVERYWHERE. No wonder teenagers don’t like politics – it’s filled with boring, old, white, rich men! So, that’s the perfect reason for us to get involved! To shake it up a bit, is how I like to put it. Nothing stands out more than having young, Democratic women get involved in politics.  We’re different from the rest of the crowd and variety is FABULOUS to have in politics.

I have to say, there are many more reasons for us young Democratic women to get involved. Our voices are not heard enough and we basically have no voice in politics. Personally, I like having a say on important issues. I’m sure many other young women do, too! That’s why it’s so important for us to get involved and to be out there standing up for what’s right. This country needs more equality. This country needs more variety. This country needs more young Democratic women to start getting involved to ensure that America has Democratic women to lead when it’s our time to run.

So, what do you say? See if there’s a qualified, Democratic woman running for office in your area and go help her campaign. Pick up a newspaper or maybe turn on MSNBC for a little bit and learn about what’s going on in the world. Try to even read Hillary Clinton’s memoir and read about how she got started in politics and how she got to where she is today.

I want to know who else is with me. I want to know if there’s any other young, Democratic woman out there ready to shake up politics, ready to make a difference and ready to make change.

I am certainly ready. Are you?


  1. skaczmarski says:

    Believe me, Emily, there are plenty of us more mature ladies who are sick and tired of seeing all the old, white, rich, gray-haired “suits” on the Congess floor!

  2. Alan Mills says:

    Believe me, there are lots of us older white men who wish there were more younger democratic women. And this year, we have quite a good group running. So hopefully, next year, there will be many more in the Ilinois delegation.

  3. Pat Fuller says:

    I hope you stay involved and plan to run for office when you get old enough. In the mean time, stay informed and work for candidates like Cheri Bustos. You can run for school board or the town council when you turn 18. I applaud your message.

  4. Leann M. Rossi says:

    So…I just met this pretty incredible teenager via Facebook two weeks ago. Actually, I went to H.S. With her mother and recently we reconnected. Enter…Em Spangler, yes you, I am so honored to have you enter into my cyber life. Your passion is refreshing and to know that you are spearheading your generation gives me the hope that more young women will let their voices echo through the halls of all our State and local Governments throughout our Nation. My political career also started at the H.S. student council level , then on to student Senate at NIU, followed by membership on IGLTF ( Illinois Gay Lesbian Task Force) where I spoke before the Illinois Senate in 1989 to include ‘sexual orientation’ equality in labor practices and thus became inclusive two years later. At 46, I haven’t stopped being a political activist, equal rights is my passion and it all started because I got the ‘political’ gene along with the rainbow one! My point is….your passion does not define you…this is who you are Em Spangler, a ‘star’ or ‘A star Spangler’d banner that waves’ for justice….there, I just created your political slogan…now go out there and let your voice lead our young women into political awareness.
    Hugs to you and your Family

  5. Joan Padilla says:

    Dear Em, Awesome job! You will achieve your dream because of your passion and dedication! You are an inspiration. Keep the message going.

  6. Amanda says:

    Em, You’re an inspiration. Your passion and tenacity will take you to amazing places! Keep it up.

  7. Deborah Kinnicutt says:

    Hello Em….yes, you have a great passion at a young age, and very inspiring! You know my daughter Grace, as a friend, I can tell she is very proud of you…You are a great voice for your generation….Go out and spread your word!!

  8. Joan Shockey says:

    I had a freshman Latin teacher in high school write one word in my annual at the end of the year. That word was:
    Excelsior! Means higher. Keep going and believing and you will achieve your commendable dreams. Read my daughter, Kathy Groob’s book, Pink Politics. It will give you incite she wished she had when she ran for Ky. State Senate. Best of luck and God Bless you, Em Spangler.

  9. Trish Joyce says:

    You are exceptional, Em! I look forward to furthering your aspirations by casting a vote for you!

  10. Great to hear a young woman committed to public service and the
    Democratic Party! Over 40 years ago I was in a club called The
    Young Democrats! I have always been committed to public service.
    I know that once that fire is lit it will continue to light the way – Em you have my support, and any time you need help fanning that flame let me know. I love who you are and your courage!

  11. When you have finished school, you must apply to the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership. It will help prepare you for your race for Congress. Since 2002 IWIL has trained 121 women, they have waged 64 campaigns with 39 victories and 14 current candidates for office — including One running for Congress (Cheri Bustos) and one for State Rep (Laura Fine). Thanks for your dedication and I hope it catches on. When you are ready, iWIL will prepare you!

  12. MO state rep. Tracy McCreery says:

    Thanks for speaking up Em. This has been quite a week for our country. It would be easy for a progressive elected official like me to throw my hands up in the air, but after reading your blog I feel re-energized! On to victory in November.

  13. Amy says:

    Thank you for your voice Emily! I’m sure that other young women your age will read this and be inspired. I wish you much good fortune on your path to make this world a better place for women.

  14. We are so proud of you, Em! Keep it up. I am not interested in politics but you, yes YOU, make me interested a bit and have that spark in your eyes when you talk about a very strong point! I applaud you HUGE for that! You are very vibrant, energetic and fun when you speak of politics which the average person normally finds boring- but not when you are speaking! Keep it up and we are right behind you every step of the way! We love you bunches!

    Here here to our President Em- someday!

  15. meadow says:

    do you know if the same sort of resource exists for a teen in North Carolina?

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