Opinion

Top 10 reasons Palin should run for president

Amy Siskind Contributor

1.) Our country has yet to elect a woman president — A national embarrassment! Almost every country in Europe and Latin America, along with India, Israel, New Zealand, Canada, China, Pakistan, Rwanda and many other countries have been led by a woman. The UN ranks the U.S. 75th for women’s representation in government (great news: we’re tied with Turkmenistan). It is time we move forward as a country and elect a woman president!

2.) Left to their own devices, neither party will run a woman — In 2008, Hillary Clinton was not only betrayed by the “Senate Boys Club,” but the DNC allowed overt sexism to hurt her chances (which Howard Dean acknowledged after she dropped out). The GOP establishment continually discourages Palin (and Bachmann) from running. For a woman of either party to become president, she’ll need to take a non-traditional, circuitous route. Since women are brought up to be “good girls,” few women have the moxie and bravery to buck the system. Palin does.

3.) A generation of girls will see politics as a possibility — Over the past decade, an alarming trend has developed on campus: college women are less likely to seek out positions of power. They’re avoiding not only politics but also corporate America. One Ivy League woman told me her take-away freshman year on career paths for women was: “social work or medicine — you know, women need to help people.”

4.) Women’s representation in leadership is moving backwards — From Congress to Fortune 500 management, the percentage of women in leadership roles is decreasing. We’re moving backwards! The best way to move forwards again is to get women who support other women into positions of power.

5.) Palin “walks the walk” on supporting and mentoring women — No one has done more to dismantle the GOP’s white-male construct than Palin. Her 2010 efforts helped deliver the country’s first Latina governor (Susana Martinez), first Indian-American woman governor (Nikki Haley) and many new and returning women candidates.

6.) Standing up to sexism — Palin has faced a steady barrage of sexism since 2008, including yesterday when a sign was posted on her bus referring to her as a media “whore.” In fact, women in power are frequently referred to as “sluts, bitches and whores.” Unambiguously, sexism hurts female candidates. That’s why it is so important for Palin to continue to stand up against and smack down the low-lives who perpetrate sexism and misogyny — by running despite them!

7.) Women’s voices (and faces) are evaporating — Increasingly, the decisions that determine the future of our country are made predominantly or exclusively by men. Although women make the bulk of consuming decisions, there is not a single woman in the federal budget negotiations or leading a major economic agency in the Obama administration. Geez, NASA couldn’t put one female astronaut on Shuttle Endeavor’s final mission?

8.) Teaching girls to take risks (and pick themselves up and try again) — Our culture pressures girls not to take risks. It teaches them that they must be perfect and not make mistakes. As a result, women are under-represented in high-paying jobs and top-level management positions. Palin running for office again would send women a powerful message to take risks, keep trying and never give up. It would be truly empowering.

9.) Like so many of us, Palin is a working mom — She understands the quandary facing today’s women, and how we are put in a no-win situation. She’s been a victim of gender stereotyping from the moment she stepped into the national spotlight: How dare she be a working mother?! (here, here and here). She’ll bring that understanding to office.

10.) Palin made her own way — She was not the beneficiary of her father and his cronies, her fraternity, or the boys’ network. She worked hard and did well based on her own abilities, and never forgot where she came from. This gives her an implicit understanding of the battles that the marginalized and underrepresented (including women and girls) must wage to advance.

Amy Siskind is the President and Co-Founder of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls.