How to Become a Congresswoman

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — America is called the land of the free and home of the brave. It is depicted as a place where dreams can come true. This notion allows every citizen to grow up and work in the profession of their choosing, including running for political office and the opportunity to become a congresswoman.

The United States government is comprised of three branches: the executive, judicial and legislative branches. The executive branch is controlled by the president, the judicial branch by the Supreme Court and the legislative branch by Congress.

Congress consists of two chambers: the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. The Senate serves as a higher office than the House of Representatives and has fewer elected members. There are 100 U.S. Senators and 435 U.S. Representatives.

The standards for being elected in Congress do not differ based on gender. If a woman wants to learn how to become a congresswoman she can serve in one of two chambers of Congress. Qualifications for becoming a member of Congress differ depending on the office sought. These qualifications can be found in Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

To become a congresswoman, a woman must be at least 25 years old, a citizen for at least seven years and a resident of a state. The Constitution does not require a representative to live in the congressional district she represents. A senator must be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and a citizen of the state they are in. A senator must live in the state she is elected to represent at the time of the election.

Although any 25-year-old American woman can become a congresswoman, the process of getting elected can be very complex. The candidate must have leadership and public speaking skills. To gain respect from voters, it is imperative that the candidate is able to show a list of past and current accomplishments. Voters will be looking to see if the candidate does work in the community, has a good educational or business background and more.

The candidate will need to choose a political party so they can be acquainted with them in order to garner various forms of support and align themselves with current principles of the party. She must create a campaign committee to help build her platform to convince voters that she is the right person for the post.

Potential congresswomen will also need to make public appearances to gain familiarity in the community. Flyer and campaign paraphernalia need to be made in a timely fashion and distributed throughout the community to build awareness of campaign issues. Additionally, candidates must file documents in order to run for office. Petitions and signatures, along with other forms must be submitted. State-specific requirements can be provided by state election commissions.

Although anyone woman is eligible to join Congress, it has often been a difficult uphill battle to become a congresswoman and have female voices in politics. Since the first woman was elected to Congress in 1916 there has been slow but steady progress. This problem is owing to the fact that the political world was once men only and remains male-dominated.

Once a person is elected into office the chances of them being re-elected are very high. Some women have difficulty becoming congresswomen because breaking into the political world is hard if they are not from a political family. This is parallel to the fact that women can be seen as meek or only family oriented.

Studies have also shown that men tend to receive more media coverage than women, and this has affected women’s political opportunities. However, women have come a long way and statistics should not prevent anyone from trying to become a congresswoman. Though Congress is male dominated, women are still capable and eligible for a seat at the table.

Needum Lekia

Photo: Flickr

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