Women are underrepresented in politics at every level. Two women in Boston are finally making their city look more like the world they want.
It's impossible to ignore the fact that politics in the United States is still a male-dominated field. "Impossible" isn't hyperbole; men far outnumber women at all levels of government across the country. There are only 20 women in the U.S. Senate, and 23 states have never had a woman governor. Massachusetts is one of them, and while the state's government is still male-dominated, women — all women of color, in fact — are shaking up the Boston City Council.
City Council member Michelle Wu only got into politics after she had to confront systemic problems in her community. "I never thought I would be into politics when I was younger. I didn't see a lot of people who looked like me in government," Wu said. "It wasn't until a series of family situations that led me to all of a sudden see how much it matters. It matters for schools that you're trying to send your kids to. It matters for your parents and health care."
That same impulse drove Andrea Campbell to run for office. She grew up to be an Ivy League-trained lawyer, but her twin brother got caught up in the criminal justice system and died while in custody.
Wu won re-election in November, and Campbell defeated a longtime incumbent, which means there are now a total of four women who won their city council races. Annissa Essaibi George won a big upset victory against a longtime male incumbent, and Ayanna Pressley won a fourth term. These two newcomers and two up-and-coming problem-solvers could become a powerful force for change in a city that is still struggling to make its politics look more like its population.
About A Woman's Place
Kassidy Brown and Allison Rapson, co-founders of We Are the XX, travel across the globe and join arms with female revolutionaries, leaders, and activists to document the front lines of feminism.