In her guide for women looking to gain political office, Rebecca Sive argues for the necessity of such a book by opening up with the noteworthy statistics that, “Women occupy fewer than 20 percent of the seats in the U.S. Congress. Only 5 of our 50 states have women governors. And though thousands of women hold local and state offices, those percentages are dismal as well.” This lack of women in political office compelled Sive, who has served in a number of leadership positions in politics and political organizations such as NARAL, to create a guide pushing more women to take on leadership positions. Sive gives mostly common-sense advice about networking with those in positions both above and below you, as well as defeating the sense of self-doubt that holds back so many women.
However, although Sive declares herself a feminist and seems to believe deeply in furthering such issues as reproductive rights, she is also surprisingly pragmatic in her advice for women looking to get ahead, advising them to be willing to put aside their beliefs when need be. Sive gives the example of Jan Schakowsky, a pro-choice member of the U.S. House of Representatives who endorsed an “anti-choice” candidate to enhance her support and leadership. “Leading and governing will be different from the process of advocating,” Sive notes. While I have yet to set my eye on political office, I still found Sive’s advice helpful in the workplace, as it can apply to any situation in which a woman is looking to become a leader, especially in environments dominated by men.
Every Day is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House, Chicago Review Press
This review appears in the Aug/Sept 2013 issue of BUST Magazine with Janelle Monáe. Subscribe now.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.