How wo[men] govern differently

There’s a misconception that men govern better than women. I’d like to change one word in that sentence. Men govern differently than women. During my time at the Michigan Legislature, I gained first-hand experience working with both men and women and there is a difference between the two genders. But, nothing that one gender governs better than the other.


What I do know is everyone can get in a room and talk about ideas and big picture items, but when it comes to taking those ideas and creating a plan to execute, women have the advantage. Women are organized, detail-oriented and we follow through. I’ve attended countless planning meetings with women who are elected to office. During these meetings we come up with a plan and execute that plan. They bring in idea-makers and experts to deliberate and implement the plan. Men, women, republican, democratic, conservative or liberal, those adjectives are left at the door because when it comes to solving problems and implementing real change, it takes a village.


Pew Research Center recently released a study about the gender gap and party gap in regard to female leadership and women running for higher office. “Women are better at being compassionate and empathetic (61%), working out compromises (42%), and serving as a role model for children (41%).” However, we still have characteristic disadvantages when it comes to running for office, including men “being assertive, being decisive, being ambitious and showing emotions.”


Showing emotion? I don’t know about you, but I have no problem showing emotion. In the past I’ve been told by men that I’m “too emotional.” Somehow our positive attributes of being compassionate and empathetic aren’t translating into emotion with voters. That’s something we continue to battle even as more women are elected to higher office.


In 2018, there were more women on the ballot in Michigan than ever before. It’s not about the party you’re running to represent. It’s about women having a seat at the table and impacting real change. The days of letting someone else make the decisions for us are over. My experience has been that women are not only more open to collaborating, but willing to work across the aisle to do make change happen. It’s not always about who gets the PA (public act) but instilling real change in Michigan that affects our children, seniors and everyone in between. When women are elected to office, we don’t just work for the people who voted for us, we work for everyone.


Now’s the time to get involved and make a difference. I got involved with politics more than ten years ago by chance and haven’t looked back since.

-Nicole Hankwitz