With a slick handle and strong focus, women are making their move for a stronger role in local government come the 2021 city election.
The organization is called 21 in 21’ and it works to advocate for electing at least 21 women city council members in the 2021 citywide elections. Concerned with the lack of female representation in the city council, former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley launched 21 and ‘21 in 2017.
The organization’s Vice Chair is Yvette Buckner, a top strategic consultant currently at Tusk Strategies and the all-women board of directors are already helping women in New York willing to run for city council with political consulting, fundraising for campaign work, monthly events and getting the word around with digital media.
“We are helping them to expand what their base is right now,” said Buckner. If a candidate has strong ideas about fundraising for example, 21 and ‘21 is working to improve the candidate’s current ideas and provide help with areas that might need more assistance.
Without any party-affiliation, the organization will be endorsing all of the women candidates for the open 35 term-limited seats.
According to Buckner, over 150 women had already shown interest in city council membership. But she said that she is expecting the number to double by the election season.
“Women are stepping up in a way that it has not been done yet. The base is 21 and we want to see more women representation in the city council,” Buckner said. She added that their goal was to work toward a truly representative city council.
“We are the only organization solely focused on city council and only women,” said Buckner about 21 and ‘21. The organization is working with current council members and possible candidates to reach its goal to elect 21 councilwomen.
The current city council has 12 women members out of its total of 51. Out of Manhattan’s 10 council members, four are women including Diana Ayala (El Barrio/East Harlem, Mott Haven, Highbridge, Concourse, Longwood, Port Morris) whose district includes parts of Manhattan and the Bronx.
Other boroughs are also not very different when it comes to women representation in the city council. Staten Island has a 1/3 ratio when it comes to the number of councilwomen vs the total number of seats, followed by Brooklyn’s 4/16, Queens’ 2/14 and the Bronx’s 1/8.
Even though councilwomen could not outnumber their male colleagues in any borough, women actually have a higher majority than men in the city, noted Buckner, and 21 and ‘21 will make sure that women will have a stronger voice in decisions on health, education, politics and policies that affect New Yorkers every day.
“Given the current political climate now in D.C., it is important for people at the local level to have a voice. It is important for us to have a movement,” added Buckner.