A Not-So-Brief History of Women in Politics

With Kamala Harris on the Democratic presidential ticket, this year could be a turning point for women in American politics. However, Harris is just the most recent in a line of trailblazing women.

1872 – Victoria Woodhull runs for President. Woodhull also created a publication called Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly.

1887 – The first female mayor is elected: Susanna Salter of Argonia, Arkansas.

1916 – Jeannette Pickering-Rankin is the first woman to be elected to congress. 

1920 – White women are granted the right to vote.

1923 – Soledad Chacon, a Latina woman, wins the election to become the Secretary of State in New Mexico.  

1952 – Charlotta Spears-Bass is the first black woman to be nominated for vice president. 

1952 – Asian American women earn the right to vote.

1962 – Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes the first female Asian/Pacific Islander woman to be elected into state senate.

1965 – Native American women earn the right to vote.

1974 – Elaine Noble becomes the first openly queer woman to win in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

1976 – Mary Rose Oakar is the first Arab-American woman elected to senate.

1980 – LaDonna Harris becomes the first indigneous woman nominee for vice president.

1984 – Geraldine Ferraro is Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, making her the first female vice-presidential nominee representing a major American political party. 

1985 – Wilma Mankiller becomes the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

1992 – Nydia Velasquez becomes the first Puerto Rican woman elected to congress.

2001 – Condelezza Rice becomes the first woman to hold the position of National Security Advisor.

2016 – Hilary Clinton runs for president, before losing to Donald Trump.

2017 – Nikki Haley becomes the first Indian-American woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

2020 – Kamala Harris runs for Vice President along with Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. 

Compiled and written by November Shawler 

Effects of Mental Illness on Women

She seems happy at school. She talks to her friends, eats her lunch, and does her work.

Unfortunately, it all changes as soon as she opens her front door to return home.

She starts to take off all her makeup, then just stares at herself in the mirror. She sighs and walks to her room, where she just sits on her bed. She has a feeling she is about to cry, but no tears come out.

Instead, she just sits there, staring into the nothingness she lives every day.

This is a normal day for sophomore Riley Brown, who suffers from anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression.

“It feels like when you’re outside on the icy ground and you slip, but you catch yourself, except it keeps happening and it never actually stops,” says Brown. “The medicine helps. Instead of worrying 24/7, (now) it’s more like 12/7.

According to mentalhealthamerica.net, one of the nation’s leading websites on mental health, around 12 million (roughly one-in-eight) women experience some form of clinical depression every year.

Compared to their gender counterparts, women seem to experience depression at twice the rate of men. Specifically, girls aged 14-18 years have higher rates of depression than males around this age.

“Men often display their depression with anger and overworking, while women suffer in silence,” says Allison Puckett, a former Wellstone Hospital employee. “They do, however, seem to experience more support.”

According to Puckett, someone who shows signs of depression may just need someone to open up to.

“It’s really important to talk about depression. You won’t cause someone to commit suicide just by asking if they’re okay,” Puckett said. “If the signs are there, you should ask. People need to know to never give up. There’s always hope.”

Signs of depression include increased feeling of tiredness or insomnia, overeating or loss of appetite, excessive crying, loss of interest in activities, and outbreaks of anger.

“I encourage someone who is having negative thoughts to go to a trusted adult, coach, or counselor,” says Jeffersonville High School counselor Tyler Colyer. “If someone is showing signs, be supportive, aware, and tell a trusted adult.”

Now that Riley has started taking her medication she seems happier and less anxious. When she recognized the symptoms she confided in someone she knew cared about her.

That changed her life.

“I promise things do get better,” Brown says. “It might just take some time.”

Opposing Views: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Columns


Abortion is wrong. Period.

The tough thing about a topic of this nature is the majority of people already have their minds made up.

That’s why I chose to explain to you why, based off of my Christian beliefs, I am pro-life, and fully against something as sickening as abortion.

Throughout the years growing up, I was taught that abortion is murder. To me, it’s taking the life of an innocent human being who is still growing in the mother’s womb.

Through reading the Bible and my strong beliefs in Christianity, I have learned that God knew me, he knew you, he knew everyone, before they were knit together in the mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). There is a God who knew everything about you before you were born, and I feel this is tough for people to comprehend, especially those in favor of pro-choice.

Many pro-choice supporters would believe that, “If God knew, why didn’t he stop it when he could have?” All I can tell you is this leads back to the sinful, wicked nature of the world we live in.

But I have hope through Jesus Christ, and this led me to Choices Life Resource Center in New Albany, a place that many pro-choice supporters don’t know too much about. As I emailed with Mary Munford, a nurse at Choices, and toured the facility with Rose Condra, the director, I found out more about places like these.

There are locations like this all over the country, and they are places of compassion. The only pro-life supporters a pro-choice supporter sees is those who stand outside abortion clinics with signs. But as I toured Choices, I found a place of hope for the community.

Many woman face a difficult decision when they get pregnant. But I have learned that there are three options: Keep the child, put it up for adoption, or get an abortion. Two of these options keep this human life alive, and give it a chance at a future.

The third option takes that chance – that life – away.

As I continued to tour Choices, I walked into a room where ultrasounds happen, and felt this sense of peace. Ultrasounds are when a woman can hear their baby’s heartbeat. As I stood there, I learned of women who have walked in this room, saw this small heartbeat, and still chose an abortion. It’s sad.

Some pro-choice supporters might choose to say, “The fetus isn’t really a human being.”

In reality, though, the term fetus is a Latin term, meaning “little one,” which is used to describe a stage of development, just like infant or adult. According to the law of biogenesis, a fetus conceived by human parents, and growing by means of the instructions in its own human genetic code, is by definition human.

Tim Tebow, Celine Dion, Jack Nicholson, Steve Jobs, Cher, and Justin Bieber. What do all the famous people on this list have in common? Their parents all contemplated aborting them during pregnancy. Imagine if Steve Jobs was never born, that amazing iPhone wouldn’t be what it is today. All of these celebrities that have impacted our world in some way or another, so try to imagine how different our world would be without them.

Pro-choice supporters use rape cases to back-up their reasoning for being in favor of abortions. A study from January 2017 called A New Perspective on Human Abortions showed that approximately 70-percent of rape victims chose to give birth to their babies.

A family friend of mine wouldn’t be with us today if his mother had chose to abort him after being taken advantage of. Not only did she choose life, but she chose to put him up for adoption.

Many women choose to get an abortion because they feel like they’re not in a stable place to have the kid. This may be because the father is gone, or they don’t feel they have the financial support.

But Choices is a place of hope for families. A place where Condra and Munford help those families with clothing, diapers, bottles, car seats and classes designed to help parents throughout parenthood, not just birth.

And that support leads to another option future mothers and fathers can make: adoption. Adoption is a way for a mother to give her baby to a stable family, which is never a bad option. In today’s world we live in, adoption agencies allow the mother to be a part of the child’s life still.

I know many families that adopt and tell of the miraculous stories of how their child has changed their life. And if the mother had chosen to abort the baby, the lives of these families wouldn’t have been changed, and there would be yet another victim to an abortion.

Based off of my morals and belief in Christianity, I believe that pro-life is the only way to go.

Abortion is murder. Abortion is wrong. Think of how that child could one day change the world.


January 22, 1973: Roe Vs. Wade

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court legalized the ability for a woman to have an abortion under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Despite this happening almost 45 years ago, this Supreme Court decision is still being fought today, despite the fact that a woman’s body is her own.

Why? Because many claim that abortion is killing babies.

Which it is not.

Before you put this article down with disgust, hear me out. I wish no one had to get an abortion; I imagine it’s a traumatic experience. And it’s true that this kills a living being, and this greatly saddens me.

But what I am simply trying to do is get both men and women to think not of themselves, their circumstances and beliefs, but rather other people. I have never been pregnant, nor had an abortion, but I am trying to think of women in all situations.

No woman wants to have an abortion. Most feel they don’t have any other option; many seeking abortions aren’t financially stable enough to have a baby or afford a pregnancy. Some women cannot go through a pregnancy for their own health reasons; others are victims of rape and incest.

This is why Roe vs. Wade exists — not because “atheists” or “liberals” want to kill babies, but because women deserve to make their own decisions.

Why does the government get to control women’s bodies, and make this decision for women they’ve never met? Furthermore, why do the men in the government get to control the bodies of women they’ve never met?

It should be the choice of a woman, because it’s her body. Hers. Not Paul Ryan’s, not Mitch McConnell’s, and not Donald Trump’s.


President Trump, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault, has taken away a law the Obama Administration passed that says the workplace must provide birth control for women. If the Republicans are so worried about women getting abortions, why are they increasing the likelihood that women will get pregnant? Furthermore, why are women being punished just for the fact that they can get pregnant?

Illegalizing abortion doesn’t make it go away; it means women go to less-equipped places, which increases the likelihood that the mother is killed.

In a recent article by CNN, Marcie Crim, executive director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, quoted a 16-year old she’d talked to who was denied an abortion in Kentucky due to being nearly 23 weeks pregnant. The girl reportedly said, “Fine, I’ll just do it myself. I’ve looked it up online. I can do it myself.”

Crim helped the girl get an abortion, but this is just one example of how desperate some of these women are.

There’s a 10-year-old girl in India who was raped, and recently gave birth to a baby. India’s Supreme Court refused to allow her an abortion, and this girl, who is younger than the high schoolers reading this article, is now a mother. Can you imagine being a parent, and the physical trauma of being pregnant … at 10 years old? This is an example of a situation that Roe vs. Wade prevents.

Abortion is not only a national topic, but an issue right across the Ohio River. Go into downtown Louisville and find a place called EMW Women’s Surgical Center. This is the last place in the entire state of Kentucky that performs abortions, and protesters are crowded around it every day, showing pictures of bloodied babies, and posters claiming it’s a sin.

This brings up my final point: abortion is too closely tied to religion.

Most of the Republican party is comprised of white, Christian males, which doesn’t represent every American. America is a country that prides itself on diversity, and the right to separation of church and state. Not everyone in this country is religious, and our ability to choose is a Constitutional right we are lucky to have.

That’s why it is not fair when others make someone feel bad for their choices, much like the people that crowd the front of abortion centers. As I said, no woman wants to have an abortion, and she doesn’t deserve to be shamed for her choice. It’s the right of Americans to protest, but think how you would feel, if someone told you that you were going to Hell for your choice to have an abortion.

Protesters have even assaulted people escorting women to the center. Emory Williamson, a volunteer escort, told CNN that he’s had his feet stomped on by protesters so many times that he’s had to buy steel-toe Timberland boots.

How is that okay? To cite God as your reason for protesting, but to assault an innocent man?

Williamson told CNN, “The Jesus I grew up with would be walking with the client. I grew up knowing that Jesus was about compassion and love and understanding. He was willing to be with those who might be dealing with hardships in life–and being able to always walk beside them.”

Americans have the right to their own opinion, but the next time you think about abortion, I implore you, put yourself in the mind of someone else.

Think about what you would do if you were in this situation. Think of the millions of women around the globe. Think of a woman you know and love.
Just don’t think of only yourself.

“No means No”

Story by Chloe Treat

Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer — these names are just a few of the many well-known men accused of sexual misconduct in, or out, of the workplace.

While all of these men have varying jobs (producer, Senator, actor, and national news anchor), they all hold one thing in common — power.

For years, there has been harassment and assault in the workplace that has gone unnoticed, simply wiped under the rug due to fear and shame. But recently, dozens of accusations have surfaced.

After a crime such as sexual assault, victims are left feeling small, vulnerable, and full of fear. The severity of the attack, and the person that commited the crime can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to come forward. Men of power, such as the names mentioned above, were people whos crimes didn’t come to light for months — some even years.

For these victims, coming forward changes their lives forever. It is important to understand that making accusations, especially towards men in powerful positions, does not benefit these victims. There is no closure, only the hope that it will never happen to anyone else.

Another common misconception is that sexual assault and sexual harassment is something that only happens against women by men, but that is not the case.

Men can be abused by women, or even other men. It is said that about one-in-six men will be sexually assaulted in their lives, a fact that is too often overlooked. Actor Kevin Spacey has been accused of more than a dozen assaults against other men, some even teenagers at the time.

While it might not turn physical, another too-often overlooked problem (and perhaps most prevalent) is sexual harassment. It is something that has possibly happened to your mother, your sister…maybe even you. It happens in schools, in stores, and even on city streets. As a teenage girl, I know I’ve experienced it myself.

Cat-calling, one of the most known examples, is not okay. It might seem to some as if it isn’t a big deal, but for women and girls everywhere, it destroys self-esteem and creates an overwhelming amount of discomfort.

Coming from a female’s point of view: whistling, or calling out, to girls as they walk past, whether it’s because of what they’re wearing or because of how they look, is never a compliment.

As a publication, and as the future leaders of our country, we must take a stand and make a change. Whether it’s speaking up when witnessing this take place, or even just being there for anyone you know that’s gone through these horrific crimes, there are many ways you too, can be an advocate for speaking against sexual assault.  

If there’s anything that you’ve taken away from this, hopefully you realize how far behind our country is in terms of sexual misconduct, and hopefully you do as much as you can to prevent it.

Tully and Treat’s High School Help

What is it like to grow up as a female in today’s society?

Chloe’s Answer:

Being a girl in general is not easy, but being a teenage girl is even harder. It feels like there’s a constant expectation that has to be met: look this way, feel that way.

When I started high school, I was always comparing myself to other girls, and sometimes I still do. If you live your life trying to be like someone else, nothing will ever feel right.

Our high school years are some of the hardest mentally, too.

Obviously gender doesn’t determine whether or not one suffers from depression or anxiety, but it is more common in teenage girls than boys. Some doctors say this is due to girls maturing faster; therefore we are more vulnerable to these feelings.

For me, I think it has a lot to do with the social stresses put on girls. As humans, we want validation and acceptance from those around us, and that can affect our self esteem and confidence in a  major way. For us girls, I think we try really hard to be good enough, pretty enough, and smart enough.

For as long as women can remember, they have been seen as inferior to men. This has caused women to have to prove themselves to anyone that sees them as different. You’re only a teenager for so long, so you can’t waste your time trying to prove yourself to people who probably don’t even care.

I think you have to reach a point where you love yourself for who you are, and you realize that you are good enough, in every way.                                                      


Emily’s Answer:

Growing up as a girl in today’s age is obviously easier than it was for the women that came before us. We don’t have to fight for the right to vote, for equal education, or any “real” barriers keeping us from our male counterparts.

However, this does not mean that growing up as a young girl is a walk through the park. There are a plethora of societal barriers that are holding young girls back from their full potential.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve felt a pressure about having to be a certain way. I have to be smart and level headed, but not smart enough to threaten my femininity. I have to wear clothes that are in style and that are flattering and feminine, but I have to make sure I’m not showing too much of any part of my body.

It took me awhile to actually realize these inconsistencies in the standards for boys and girls. I can thank my parents for that, for always encouraging me to be unapologetically me, and to not necessarily have to fit to these stereotypes.

Just because I was in this environment at home, doesn’t mean that it’s like that everywhere. Some of my earliest memories of this unfamiliar judgement were in a school setting. Being told to act “ladylike” was a very common statement that was pushed upon myself and my friends.

At the time we were embarrassed and ashamed. Were we not ladies anymore because we would rough-house and play pretend outside?

It’s taken me an extended amount of time to realize that women, as a whole, are held to societal standards that are dangerous and detrimental to one’s vision of themselves.

One of my favorite sayings is, “There is no wrong way to be a woman.” I try to remind myself of this consistently and empower myself and other girls to continue to encourage each other to be the best we can be at whatever we want.

No matter the connotation it comes with.

The Definition of Feminism

Feminism, noun – the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

Imagine being a person that has to face a field of injustices daily. You wake up every morning and go to a job that doesn’t pay you the same amount as your co-workers…who perform the exact same tasks.

While at work, you are subjected to unsettling and uncomfortable conversations with your co-workers, or those in charge — conversation topics that aren’t appropriate in the workplace.

Suddenly a hand placed on your lower back. And it stays there longer than you want.

Following all of that, you leave work — only to travel far and wide for adequate healthcare. On the way, you are subjected to whistles and catcalls, and are at a statistically higher risk of being physically assaulted.

You finally get to the doctor, only to be greeted by protesters, shaming you for getting treatment. In fact, you have to be escorted by security to ensure your safety.

You get home, only to have to wake up and face something similar in the morning.

For many women, this imagination is their reality. They are expected to be subjected to this actuality, and stay silent about it.

For as long as women can remember, there is a long road of inequality between the sexes. Women did not always have the right to an adequate education, the right to vote, or even access to equal paying jobs. Among these inequities between genders come societal pressures placed upon women that leave them with fewer opportunities, making it harder for women to rise above them.

Now, in 2018, women have a different variety of setbacks than those who came before them. Some will take these differences and proclaim that being a woman in the 21st century is easy – nothing worthy of discussion.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Struggles that today’s women face are simply different than earlier endeavors. However, this does not mean that the inequalities between men and women were fixed completely.

Societal pressures upon the female population are more prevalent than ever – pressures to look, and act, in a manner that is pleasant to men around them, yet not to speak out against injustices they face in daily lives.

Women still earn an estimated 83-percent of what their male counterparts earn. Women of color earn statistically less than white women, too. This can still be seen today. Despite the Equal Pay Act, a law that demands equal pay without gender discrimination, E! News anchor Catt Sadler was making less than half of what her male co-host made.

Sadler, an Indiana native, grew up in a city very similar to ours. Our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends face these blatant gender biases even today. Despite laws being passed to prevent them, these biases still run rampant in a woman’s life.

The definition of feminism has changed between the time of suffragettes. Then, female activists fought for the right to vote. Now, women are able to be a candidate for the United States presidency.

Women no longer have to fight for equal rights, but instead for equal opportunities. Today’s feminism is also more inclusive when it comes to race, sexuality, and gender identity.

But for some, the word “feminism” is the only thing noticed in a society full of wrongdoings and inequality. Those who speak down to women, and claim that “it’s what men do” claim that the movement is about the superiority of women, or putting men down. As there are extremists in most ideals – predominantly religion – there, too, are those who take the idea of feminism, and twist it into something of their own.

In today’s social climate, more and more stories of sexual assault and abuse are coming to light, exposing some of the world’s most trusted household names as perpetrators.

As a society, we have created the environment that holds half of the population back from their full potential, and lets the wrongdoers hide behind the notion that women overreact or were asking for it. Why?

As a society, we must right our wrongs and do better to allow everyone in our country the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In this issue of the Hyphen, we explore the topics of feminism, and what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society – struggles, inequalities, empowerment – all tales that are connotated with womanhood.

As a staff, we believe in the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. We hope that by reading this issue, we can encourage you to empower everyone around you – no matter their gender.