Six powerful women sent a powerful message Monday: Women must support each other in order to change society.
“It is absolutely critical that we stand together, that we encourage each other to run (for office),” said Wendy Noren, Boone County clerk, who participated in the discussion at Stephens College on “Navigating Political Cultures: How Women Affect Policy Change.”
As the female panelists of different ages, backgrounds and races greeted each other like long-lost friends, it was clear that they take Noren’s advice to heart.
“I’ve never had a problem encouraging a woman to run for office if they felt they had the support,” Noren said.
Part of the college’s Women’s History Month celebration, the event featured panelists Almeta Crayton, First Ward councilwoman; Margot Patterson Lubensky, first female legislator in Boone County; Kerri McBee-Black, chair of the Alliance for the Status of Missouri Women; Karen Miller, Boone County commissioner, District I; and Noren. Catherine Withrow, the Student Government Association president at Stephens College, moderated the discussion.
The panelists offered advice to about two dozen audience members on how women can affect change.
“One of the things that we need to understand when we’re talking about policy in relation to women is that it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it,” McBee-Black said. “Find something that you’re passionate about and find a way to get involved in it.”
The panelists stressed how important it is for women to get involved in some manner, whether it is as a member of a political party, a volunteer on a campaign or a candidate for office.
“It’s going to take a million people to say ‘I’m tired of the status quo,’” said Crayton, the first African-American female on the City Council. “The status quo needs to change before Columbia can change.”