Answer the call to serve
Each year on Aug. 26, America celebrates “Women’s Equality Day” in remembrance of the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the states and federal government from denying the right to vote based on gender.
Admittedly, I didn’t know this holiday existed until recently, and I’d venture to bet that I’m not the only one who didn’t know about this annual celebration.
However, the past two years, I’ve made a point to discuss the day with my kids and pray they understand the significance someday.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak on a legislative panel hosted by Congresswoman Stephanie Bice and the POWhER PAC, a women’s Political Action Committee established in 2021 whose focus is on inspiring conservative, Republican women to run for office in Oklahoma.
Their mission is important to me, and it was truly humbling to be the first female Oklahoma state senator endorsed by their board, and an honor to have had the opportunity to share my story and how God has worked in my life over the past two and a half years.
While knocking doors, both men and women would ask me questions like, “Who will take care of your kids if you get elected?” and “What kind of mother would do that to their children?”
Many times, this question was asked of me by Republican women over the age of 65. Because Oklahoma is such a biblically focused state, I think we’re raised understanding that a woman is meant to be a helpmate to a man.
Unfortunately, that oftentimes drives the narrative that a woman’s place is at home, cooking, cleaning, and raising children, and not out trying to change the world.
I remember going home many times feeling defeated after receiving those questions and crawling into bed wondering if I should regret the decision my family had made. But each time, I remember Stephen telling me to stop trying to talk myself out of what I felt God had called me to do and reminding me that we’d figure it out when the time comes.
And just to reassure you, if you were one of those who asked, we have figured it out. We have a lot of help from family and friends, I come home from session as often as possible, and my sweet husband has learned how to braid the girls’ hair. Our kids don’t ever starve, and they still participate in dance, guitar lessons, and sports, and make it to school every day.
Although our lives are a little more complicated sometimes, we always talk about the blessings that God continues to pour over us and how we can’t imagine any different of a lifestyle in this season.
The passage of the 19th Amendment has allowed women to make incredible advancements and huge impacts on public policy. Although I’m not a woman who wants to take over the world, I do believe that women bring a unique perspective to the table and more of us should run for office, so our government is equally represented by gender. After all, women do make up half of the world’s population.
Regardless, if it’s for the city council, school board, county commissioner, state senator or U.S. representative, we need more great women leading in all aspects of our government.
If you’re being called to serve, I hope you’ll answer the call and trust in your ability to be a great wife, mom, and leader.
If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me a Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov or call (405) 521-5522.
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