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Time to stand up for women

To the editor:

Everywhere these days we read and hear about the impact of the economic downturn on the lives of American women: In the service industries, as caregivers, on the front lines in the health care delivery system, balancing childcare and schooling while working from home during COVID-19.

Did it really have to get this bad before people noticed that women have a huge impact on our economy and way of life, yet play such a minor role when it comes to setting economic policy?

Women are on the front lines when it comes to child-rearing and keeping our communities healthy and safe; but we are not on the front lines when it comes to establishing women and family-friendly policies because we are underrepresented at the tables where those policies are being crafted and legislation is being enacted.

Let’s seize this moment. We need women in office now more than ever. We need women running and voting and using their voice as activists. One way to elect more women is to get to know — and to support — the Matriots PAC. Never heard of it? Neither did I, until recently, and I was so impressed that I want you to know, too. The Matriots are working on the long-term goal of putting more Ohio women into elected office to implement the women and family-friendly policies that this state needs. Women are 51 percent of our state’s population and hold just 29 percent of elected seats. That’s not right.

The Matriots was created to get equality. And equality in government is what we need on the local, state and national level. Here in Jefferson County, we are lucky to have a few outstanding women serving in government leadership roles. The keyword, however, is few, and that needs to change, especially for women of color. The government in our villages, townships, cities and the county must reflect the face of all of our people.

Hand-wringing will get us nowhere, nor will shouting in the faces of those who challenge our goals. It’s long past time to amass our resources and together create access and opportunity for women to lead in the policy-making arena. You can learn more at matriotsohio.com. I’m no longer willing to sit on the sidelines and leave my future up to others. How about you?

Marjie DeFede

Rayland

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