Why Rep. Ilhan Omar Isn’t Too Excited About All the Women in Congress | NowThis

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‘To me, it will be exciting when we have equal representation.’ — Rep. Ilhan Omar doesn’t just want a seat at the table, she wants the best seat.
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Rep. Omar: 100+ women in Congress is just a start. Rep. Ilhan Omar is among the new group of women joining the House of Representatives after the midterms 2018. She joins Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with seats at the table. But Omar doesn't just want a seat, she wants the best seat. In this Ilhan Omar interview, the congresswoman discusses true gender representation and equality as the real benchmark.

Omar: You know, I remember when we got sworn in, there’s I think 107 women in Congress now, and that makes it about 27% [women]. And there was a reporter who asked how I felt about it, and I said, I’m not excited. And the reporter was like, excuse me? Why are you not excited? And I said, well, I mean, for 100 years, if we have 100, like, that’s not exciting. To me, it will be exciting when we have equal representation in Congress. It will be exciting when we have more than that. And oftentimes we are told that we should celebrate the firsts, you know, the few. We get to hear about, oh, this is the first time there are three women on the city council, and that’s just it. ///

How do we flood, and continue to flood, Congress with women? There is a mountain we gotta climb, and how fast we get to the top of that mountain depends on the intensity we think we can, and I believe, at the moment, we’re starting, and it’s scary, but we’re starting to get complacent and excited by only having a hundred, and I want us to think about having the next hundred in two years. So, that’s where I’m at. Like, it’s good, sure, a hundred, but we need another hundred.
It means that we talk about the real changes that need to happen, not only in regards to race and culture and identity, but how intersectionality we are impacted by the policies that people who don’t live our struggles are creating, because when you are only talking about what it means to be a Black person, or and LGBTQ+ person, or, you know, someone who is an immigrant, or a Muslim, you don’t often get down to actually talking about the real struggles, how we, you know, are economically disenfranchised, right? The power structures that exist that only allow us in so far, but don’t ever really fully have us at that table, and so for me, I’m interested in looking at that. I don’t just want a seat at the table, I want the best seat at the table, right? You can’t just go after the shiny things—getting elected, and, you know, being a first is all wonderful. You might get, you know, covers on magazines, but, like, there is real work that needs to get done, and so sitting on committees where the budget is being put together, even though that means 18 hours on that committee, it’s where the real conversation is taking place, and where real disparities will be dealt with, and if we are not allowing ourselves to think about that, then we are never going to have the kind of America we deserve.

#IlhanOmar #WomeninPolitics #Congress #Equality

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