An Intern's Perspective
"I know you're good at fundraising, but you might want to try wearing a skirt."
Today, at a Q&A session with EMILY's List interns, President Stephanie Schriock recounted her first experience with blatant sexism in politics, an interaction that has stayed with her for over 10 years. I thought that after three months of sifting through feminist blogs that lay out case after case of sexism and gender disparity, nothing could surprise me anymore. I was wrong. Stephanie's experience didn't just surprise and anger me -- it reminded me of why I came to EMILY's List in the first place: I'm fired up and ready to fight.
I applied to intern at EMILY's List because I wanted to work for an organization whose message I not only believed in but was passionate about. As a young female, I've had the privilege of being raised in an era where I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up: a firefighter, a writer, a chef, a congresswoman or even the president of the United States. I never doubted the opportunities that I had in comparison to the women before me -- but I never expected, as a college student in 2010, that there would be people working day-in and day-out to roll back my rights.
I don't think there's much that's more important than establishing and maintaining legal equality for all women, whether it be equal pay, equal access to health care, or the right of every woman to have control over her body. I also know that the number one way to ensure that I will continue to see progress for my gender is by working to elect like-minded women to government. That goal is exactly what the members and staff of EMILY's List work towards every day, and why I came here: I wanted to be in the trenches of the battle for equality.
I remember the first time I began researching candidates for EMILY’s List’s Sarah Doesn’t Speak for Me Campaign, and thinking: These people can’t be serious. No way these people -- possible future representatives of our country -- actually believe that they are justified in taking away my reproductive freedoms or denying me affordable health care. It’s 2010! I learned fast that they were indeed quite serious. Fighting was going to be harder than I had predicted, but the difficulties I foresaw only intensified my passion for EMILY’s List and what the organization supports.
Interning has allowed me the opportunity to commit to a cause about which I feel strongly, and helped me prepare myself for the next two years, which are certain to be an uphill struggle. I have been able to work with individuals who are just as passionate about the women we work to elect and the rights we're fighting to protect. My eyes have been opened to not only the possibilities and the obstacles we as women face, but how to take advantage of every possibility and combat each obstacle.
I came to EMILY's List to be part of a movement to empower women, and in the process I've witnessed the challenges that still exist in being a woman running for political office. I've also come to understand the importance of those who work behind the scenes, every single day, to elect and support pro-choice Democratic women.
EMILY's List is always looking for bright, pro-choice future politicos to intern in their different departments. If you're interested, and you think you'd fit the bill, I highly recommend applying. Click here for more information.