Women in the Workplace: Politics

Posted: Updated:

While women are running for office in record numbers, politics is still dominated by men. On the national level, women make up less than 20 percent of legislators in Congress. In New York, women make up 28 percent of seats in Albany. So why aren't more women in public office?

”Women stepping out front has not been the tradition. It hasn't been the norm, and it really hasn't been encouraged,” says state Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins.

And once elected, there is the challenge of being taken seriously and being allowed to lead.

“We have to consider the way we are dressed, our hair, our makeup, everything will be critiqued down to the very last detail, and men are not subjected to all of that,” says Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez, who found her way into politics in her 30s.

Rookie Rockland County Legislator Lauri Santulli says juggling parenthood, a job as a teacher and her role as an elected official is the sort of challenge many women face when pursuing politics.

"And there are people that go after you. Especially with social media they can be brutal, my kids got dragged into it,” she says.

Sen. Stewart Cousins may soon break through that glass ceiling in New York. The trailblazing Democrat from Yonkers is the first woman in her district to be elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and may soon become the first woman in history to lead the state Senate.

“To come to a place now where women are taking seats of power where women weren't normally seen and having our voices heard is really extraordinary,” she says.

Women in the Workplace continues Thursday with a look at sexual harassment in the workplace.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."