Are you among the thousands of American women mulling a future in politics?
Tammy Duckworth, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, would like to offer you some straightforward advice that shouldn't be too hard to follow: "Be yourself."
"The same thing that motivated you to run is the same thing that is worrying women all across this country and all those Americans who turned out for the [marches]," the Illinois Democrat told reporters before an Emily's List gala Wednesday night. "If they are true to themselves, and their authentic self, whatever that background is, they will punch through."
Legions of women have pledged to enter politics in the wake of of the 2016 election. Emily's List, which supports pro-choice Democratic women, says it's received inquiries from more than 12,000 women so far.
While women are still vastly underrepresented in Washington — they hold 21 of 100 seats in the Senate and make up about 19% of the 535-member House of Representatives — the November elections resulted in a record number of women of color in the U.S. Capitol. Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who is one of four women of color now serving in the Senate, urged candidates from diverse backgrounds not to "pigeonhole yourself."
“As someone who is Asian, as someone who was disabled, it would be really easy for me to be the disabled candidate or the Asian candidate, and that isn’t helpful for the people I want to represent," she said. "Because they just want me to represent them, and to see in me not necessarily how I look, but in my voice [a commitment] that I’m going to stand up for those issues that are important to them."