By the Numbers:
23%: Percent of Congressional Representatives who are women.
25%: Percent of State Legislators who are women.
Less than 5%: Percent of people in Congress who are mothers with school-aged children.
86%: Percent of American women who are mothers by the time we are 44 years old.
If we aren’t supporting mothers running for office, we aren’t supporting the vast majority of American women.
Why do we need more moms in office?
If we had more moms in office, we wouldn’t be one of two countries in the world without paid family leave. We wouldn’t have the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world. We wouldn’t be 27th in healthcare and in education. We certainly wouldn’t have Representatives vote to take maternity coverage away from 13 million American women.
Our Congress, State Houses, and country would look dramatically different if we had more moms serving in elected office. A 2019 study by Lisa Bryant and Julia Marin Hellwege found that moms in Congress introduce five more bills over the course of their term than other women do, and their legislation is often focused on children’s healthcare, paid family leave, childcare, reproductive rights, education, and affordable housing for families.
But running for office as a mother, especially a mother of young children, is incredibly difficult. The first question a mother of young children is asked when she decides to run is, “who will watch your children while you’re campaigning?” Men don’t get asked this question. Mothers face unique barriers that other women do not face.
The Vote Mama Foundation trains mothers to run for office through a small-cohort model. We are working to normalize what it means to run with small children at all levels of government – from school board to Senate.
We are building the “mamas’ network” across the country to help us mentor and train other mothers to step up and run. We believe building authentic relationships and offering real-world advice is the most effective way to help moms who are thinking of running for office or who have already made the decision to step up and run.
We are also conducting research on the state of motherhood in politics across the country and the impact moms in office have on family-friendly policy.
We are enabling women to find their political voice, and make it easier for them to run and win.