Sabina Matos

Why do we need more women holding public office?

Essay originally appeared in 2012 YW She Shines™ magazine, to coincide with the 4th annual Women Holding Office Celebration when Sabina Matos was honored as a ‘Rising Political Star’. At her request, it is reprinted for this Fall 2015 edition.

It is important that women are elected to public office because women bring a different and important perspective when dealing with issues. Often time women bring a fresh voice to the table. Furthermore, we tend to tackle issues by approaching things from a different angle. Our decision making process tends to be more focus on the well being of the community as a whole; it is almost as if the mothering instinct is always on.

At this time, for a woman to serve effectively in elected office can be challenging; many times we have to work twice as hard as our males’ colleagues to call attention to an issue of importance. If we had more females voices in elected office this would be different. More women involved in the political process will translate eventually into more women in leadership positions and at the decision making tables.

Regardless of the challenges, women learn to work with what we have, and yes, work harder if need be in order to find the way to ensure that our voices are heard and our points of view are respected. There are always those whom would prefer to take for granted our role; but instead, their actions really make us stronger. Many times, those actions are the catalysts that transform us into becoming more assertive in our discourse in order to defend our point of view.

As you can see, there are several issues involving women in public office. First, we definitely need more women in elected office and we need to continue to encourage other women to run for office. Secondly, we also need to ensure that once in elected office, women feel empowered and have a good understanding of their authority.

Providence Council President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos was first elected Councilperson for Ward 15 in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014. She represents Olneyville, as well as parts of Silver Lake and Valley neighborhoods. She is the first Latina Council President Pro Tempore in Providence’s history. Matos graduated from Rhode Island College with a BA in Communications and Public Relations. She is a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute and Leadership For a Future. Matos is a past President of Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee. She has served on many boards including Olneyville Housing Corporation, United Way of Rhode Island and ECAS Theater.

photo by Agapao Productions