By KAREN GUTKE
The Women’s Caucus of the College Republicans as well as representatives from the Utah government are encouraging female BYU students to jump into politics.
“Many women are afraid to get out and do something,” said Rep. Tammy Rowan who represents Orem City in the Utah House of Representatives. “They seem to not have the same amount of confidence that men have in politics. They feel like they need to have a lot of experience behind them to go out and make a difference, but that is not true.”
Rowan (R-Orem), Rep. Becky Lockhart (R-Provo) and Arlene Ellis, committee member of the Republican National Committee, shared their experiences with the women’s caucus. They encouraged BYU female students to start getting more involved in the world around them this month, which recognized as Women’s Month.
“The nation has its arms open wide for women to get involved,” said Melissa Ransom, Utah State Chairman for College Republicans. “Jump in. Do the cannonball. Don’t be afraid.”
Women now make up twenty-one percent of the U.S. Cabinet and 22 percent of the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirteen percent of all Federal Judges, 8 percent of state governors, 19 percent of state senators, 23 percent of state Representatives, and 20 percent of big city mayors are also women.
There are many female students who serve in leadership positions at BYU. Sharon Varga, BYUSA Executive Vice President, said she enjoys representing the student body and hopes to always look for ways to use her talents to serve her community after she leaves BYU.
“I think that it is superimportant for women all over to be involved with their community. When they get involved it gives them a chance to give their unique contributions wherever they see fit,” Varga said.
Other female students such as the Diana McArthur, president of the College Republican’s Women’s Caucus, are heavily involved with the student political clubs on campus. McArthur said she wants to run for a political office in the future.
McArthur said she hopes to see more female students get involved with politics on campus.
“If we want to change the way our country is being run, then we need to take personal responsibility and change it ourselves,” McArthur said. “This is our country and we cannot leave it to men to dictate how it is run.”
Utah women have been jumping into politics ever since Utah first became a state in 1896. Utah selected the first woman senator in the nation that year with Martha Hughes Cannon.
Cannon was a trained doctor and operated the first training school for nurses in Utah. She also promoted the movement for women’s suffrage. She won a seat in the Senate over her husband, according to an essay by Jean White, “Gentle Persuaders; Utah’s First Women Legislatures.”