Women's participation in politics studied

November 10, 2022

With elections this week, it’s the perfect time to share more information from my recent interim study on women’s issues, which touched on the participation rates of women in Oklahoma politics. Presentations were made by Cassi Peters with campaign management company, Skyfire Media, along with Ryan Tupps and Jackson Lisle from Amber Integrated.

These individuals are very knowledgeable about voting and campaign trends in our state. They shared that since 1980 women have voted at a higher rate every year. Currently, issues like education and healthcare choice are motivating women to let their voices be heard more than ever before.

However, while so many critical issues are being addressed at the various levels of government impacting women, men are more likely to run for office. While men and women can have the same credentials, 36% of men and only 20% of women feel qualified to run for office. Two-thirds of men are also more likely to have been encouraged to run for office by their peers while the rest of men do it on their own. Women, though, typically need to be encouraged to run for office and don’t naturally have the desire or drive to want to seek office. We need to change this. This isn’t a partisan issue – we need more women to step up and use their life experience, skills, and knowledge to help effect policy and change in our communities, counties, state and nationally.

They also noted that while there was a monumental increase in women running for office in Oklahoma from 2000-2018, those numbers are now decreasing at an alarming rate. Politics are too negative, and women don’t want their families involved. It’s a risk that men aren’t as concerned about taking. Ladies, if you’ve ever had the slightest thought of fighting for change in our great state, please be brave and run for office whether for school board, city council or a higher office. We need more female voices in government.

In closing, I want to thank the Duncan Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to be one of their “creators of change” speakers at their Women’s Forum last Friday. It was an honor getting to speak alongside Emily Callahan, who is the Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital; Duncan Schools Superintendent Dr. Channa Byerly; and Kimber Budowsky, the Senior Executive Account Manager for Eli Lilly and Company. Next week, I’ll share some of important lessons I’ve learned since being in office in order to be successful and bring about meaningful change.

In closing, I want to extend my family’s heartfelt gratitude to our men and women serving in the military. Your service and sacrifice never go unnoticed and our prayers are with those who may be spending the upcoming holiday season away from your loved ones. We know it is not easy and greatly appreciate your dedication to our great state and nation.

Please feel free to contact me at Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; by emailing Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov or calling (405) 521-5522.