Warren’s Exit Shines Light on New York’s Struggles to Elect Women to Executive Office
Elizabeth Warren’s exit from the race left many women in politics dismayed at the current field and lamenting a missed opportunity to make history.
It also reminded some New Yorkers that they have yet to elect a woman as mayor or governor.
“The heart of this all is the reality of sexism and misogyny and we, as women, take that in in how we act and react,” Christine Quinn said.
Quinn was the first female speaker of the City Council and a leading contender for mayor in 2013. She said voters may in the back of their minds worry a woman can’t lead a big city.
“There are tough-enough women to be mayor of New York City, I promise you that,” she said.
But woman candidates also have faced criticism for being too strong.
“There’s a double standard applied to women,” Elizabeth Holtzman said. “And that’s a sad thing still. But the more women we have in political office, the more the public is accustomed to seeing women in positions of authority, real authority, the more we will see women getting elected to those positions.”
Holtzman was the first woman to be city comptroller and district attorney of Brooklyn. She first served as a member of Congress.
Amid the long-standing question of “why,” Warren’s backers are lamenting the status quo.
“It seems that New York State has artificial glass ceilings and we have to strive harder to break them,” said Democratic State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal.
Warren said her exit may be especially hard for the girls and young women she saw on the campaign trail and pinky-promised would see a woman president.
Many of her New York surrogates say they felt the loss personally.
“It says a lot to a young woman of color elected. It says a lot to me,” said Democratic State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “I think that a lot of times people use the word ‘electability.’ All the time, we’re using that word but ‘electability’ is who we want to elect.”
Advocates say more women must be encouraged to run for office – and appointed to important positions.
Governor Cuomo’s lieutenant governor is Kathy Hochul and a key aide is secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa.
Meanwhile, two of five of Mayor de Blasio’s deputy mayors are women and his chief of staff is Emma Wolfe.