It’s no secret that the United States is drastically, embarrassingly far behind other modernized nations when it comes to female political leadership. When countries around the world are electing women to the highest office, we are still talking about whether a woman is even capable of living in the White House. (Spoiler alert: SHE IS.)
As we watch other nations eagerly fill up cabinet and parliament seats with women politicians, our Congress and Supreme Court remain overwhelmingly male (and white).
So what’s the deal, U.S.? We know that women and mothers are badass, amazingly tough both mentally and physically, and can multi-task like no man ever has. So why are we stuck in the stone age when it comes to electing women as political leaders?
Enter Simona Grace, an immigrant from Hungary who is a single mom and outspoken advocate for women’s empowerment—especially mothers in politics. In fact, her passion for supporting moms who are willing to jump into the fray and enact change in our country is so fierce that she founded a Political Action Committee (PAC) to do just that. And it’s aptly called Moms in Office.
Why moms specifically? And why a PAC? Well, because moms run the world, that’s why. For example, about 88% of women become mothers by the age of 44 in the U.S. Yet, despite making up such a large segment of the population, they make up the smallest number of our federal government. This is a problem on so many levels. For example, how do you think we’ll close the wage gap and finally bring this country into the 21st century when it comes to paid paternal leave? By electing more women and mothers who get it.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy for mothers of young children to get in that political door. In fact, it’s damn-near impossible. Here are the depressing facts to prove it: At the start of 2020, only 26 congress seats are held by moms with children under 18. (That’s 5% of our legislators.) In total, there are 131 women sitting in Senate and House seats, comprising less than 24% of Congress. And while this is an all-time high for women in American politics, that’s still only a menial percentage of our lawmaking body. We need more women who are directly impacted by issues like parental leave and childcare costs on a day to day basis to win elections.
That’s why Grace attributes much of her motivation in creating this PAC to candidates like Katie Porter, who won the mid-term election for California’s 45th congressional district in 2018.
Porter “is an individual with a passion for change, a single mom of three, and I believed she was the best person to win the congressional seat in her district,” Grace explains in an article featured on GirlTalkHGQ. “While following her campaign, I realized that moms face a unique set of challenges when running for office. It is much harder for women with young children to fundraise and to reassure voters they can balance work and family. I began researching some statistics and I became determined to make a change, so that we can give all women the equality they deserve.”
She adds, “At the beginning of 2019 there were no Political Action Committees in the United States supporting moms. I formed a PAC to help progressive moms run for office at all levels of government. I also wanted to do more than just fundraise. I wanted to empower all moms and strengthen the political voice of all women.”
So to support women like Katie Porter who could make a real difference, Moms in Office was born.
What exactly does Moms in Office do? It finds and supports through formal endorsement and campaign assistance moms running for office who truly know the life of the American mom.
“We are looking for candidates who will champion change for working families because they have experienced firsthand having to make the tough choice between spending time with a newborn or a paycheck,” Grace tells Scary Mommy.
Imagine the political landscape if elected seats were filled by qualified, hard-working individuals who truly know first-hand what the majority of Americans endure from day to day—especially moms, raising the children of our future.
Imagine electing a passionate mother to office, whose campaign strategy is chock-full of practical, fair ideas like adequate minimum wage, flexible hours and innovative workspace that allowed nursing mothers to bring their babies to work, proper health care for all women and the right to control their own bodies, and paid family leave?
Imagine her sitting in the congressional chair or Oval Office, rather than whichever candidate has the most money.
Simona Grace is already imagining it. This single mom who immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary at age 18 knowing not one word of English is making real change—all because she had a vision and didn’t listen to anyone who tried to get in her way.
Moms in Office is helping women get elected who, according to the age-old, warped, often unethical practices politicians have followed for centuries, may not get that chance.
But the wind is changing, folks. There’s a storm brewing and mothers are coming out standing on the other side. Women who deserve “a seat at the table where decisions are being made about their lives,” Grace says.
Because here are the facts: “7 out of 10 mothers today are working mothers, not by choice, by necessity,” Grace tells Scary Mommy. “Due to the lack of paid parental leave and the high cost of childcare, women are forced to cut down on work hours or take a lower-paying job with more flexibility. We need the private sector to adapt to the reality of our everyday lives and offer more flex-work options for women and create working environments that are inclusive of mothers.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Grace says we need “a cultural shift in our society that does not put the onus of raising children entirely on the mother.”
This inspiring single mom, who has been named the 2020 California Mother of the Year by AmericanMothers.org says that her “fight is for all the moms and all our children who deserve to grow up in a better world. This fight is for all those mothers who are overlooked and underrepresented who may never get a chance to hold a microphone. So, I am not Mother of the Year because I am better than anyone else. I am exactly like everyone else. Every mother is a fighter—willing to sacrifice all we got for our children.”
But the impact of Moms in Office isn’t only felt by the women candidates it endorses. Grace tells Scary Mommy of her hopes that this PAC inspires all women and mothers to believe that they can make a difference. She did something that has never been done before, and it all started by writing down some ideas while standing at her kitchen counter. She wasn’t in a swanky office. She’s not an established politician. She didn’t have millions of dollars of funding. She’s just a mom with an idea and the fire within to make it happen.
So if you’re in your kitchen, covered in spit-up, with a baby on the boob, know this. You still have ideas. You still have passion. You still have a brain. And our country needs you.
As a woman and a mother, I’m certainly sick of seeing swaths of men make decisions about what women can do with their bodies and what types of maternity leave (if any) they can take after creating and bringing a human into the world. And it sounds like Simona Grace is too.
If you too are fed up with seeing the same white men getting re-elected year after year because they have more money and a stronger “base” (that, ahem, is basically bought), check out Moms in Office. Learn about the badass moms running for office all over the country. Support them in any way you can.
But most importantly, vote like a mother.
If you’d like to contribute to Moms in Office, click here.