The public believes women are just as qualified as men but often still don't vote them in.
An Ohio woman was recently cautioned against running for office because she's a mom. Yes, this really happened. In 2016. WTF.
Jennifer Herold is running for state representative in Ohio's 7th district. Her opponent, a man by the name of Tom Patton, suggested that she, as a mother of two, should wait until her kids are all grown up before she considers running for office.
"The gal that’s running against me is a 30-year-old, you know, mom, mother of two infants," Patton said in a radio appearance. "I don’t know if anyone explained to her you have to spend three nights a week in Columbus. So, how does that work out for you? Umm, I waited until I was 48, till my kids were raised and at least adults, before we took the opportunity to try."
Of course, Herold wasn't having any of this and issued a statement shutting Patton's sexist nonsense down with a few examples from history.
As Herold points out, Patton's argument relies on a persistent and outdated sexist double standard. After all, it's not like there are any other politicians who've balanced work and parenting. Right?
Unless you count President Obama ... oh, and Presidents Bush (both of 'em), Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, or, well, you get the idea.
And those are just the presidents.
"There are numerous examples of women with children who have admirably served our nation," Herold writes, referencing Sarah Palin, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Rep. Christina Hagan who gave birth in December and is already back at work. She also mentions Ohio Gov. John Kasich's teenage daughters and Speaker Paul Ryan's weekly commutes between D.C. and Wisconsin to see his family.
"So I ask Mr. Patton, by your logic, are you saying that 2 Vice Presidential nominees, the highest ranking woman in The House Leadership Team, our sitting Governor and Lieutenant Governor and a colleague in the Ohio Legislature are all unfit to serve?" Herold asks.
"Further, are your colleagues in the Ohio Legislature, the majority whom have had young children while serving, aware of your views? Do you draw a distinction between whether that representative is a mother or a father who is serving?"
Herold isn't the first mom to deal with this. In 2000, Heidi Heitkamp shut down a similar question with a totally iconic response.
Back in 2000, Heidi Heitkamp was running for governor of North Dakota against John Hoeven. While Hoeven would regularly get questions about policy issues, Heitkamp was frequently asked about her two kids, Nathan and Ali, how she'd handle splitting time between raising a family and running the state, and other issues women in the workforce seem to get asked about on an all-too-regular basis. One day, a reporter asked how old her kids were. Her now-famous response? "They're the same age as my opponent's kids."
Herold and Heitkamp are not alone in having to answer ridiculous questions like this. According to a 2014 Pew survey, 17% of Americans think the reason more women aren't in office has to do with their family commitments. (Not so sure men are being held to that same standard, guys!)
In the end, Heitkamp lost the race for governor, but she made a powerful point about the double standard women are held to when it comes to pursuing their professional goals. Women are asked questions about "having it all," while, it's generally just understood that men don't have a problem doing the same.
Heitkamp eventually ran for U.S. Senate in 2012, eking out a victory over Republican Rick Berg.
People should be judged on the basis of their qualifications, not on their gender, race, sexuality, or other demographic factor.
After Jennifer Herold's Facebook status started gaining attention, her opponent issued a statement to the Today show, saying, "I used a poor choice of words to express what I know firsthand — raising young children and working is tough."
"I would ask to be judged on my hard work and advocacy for working families," Patton added, echoing exactly what mothers everywhere have been asking for all along.
So let's do that, shall we? Not because Patton finally got with the program, but because it's the right thing to do.