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Inside the Book: Caitlin Moscatello (SEE JANE WIN)

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See Jane Win is about women’s recent
political rise in America with a focus on the wave of first-time female
candidates who ran and won in the 2018 elections. In the book I follow a diverse
group of women from around the country running for various levels of office.
Women who were willing to let me into their lives and their campaigns. At the
same time I also examine gender dynamics around power. Who gets it and
when and why and how those dynamics shifted with the backdrop of the Women’s
March and the MeToo movement. In the wake of the 2016 election women were moved to
act. It wasn’t enough though just to take to the streets, and so what we saw was
this collective realization–women seem to know that they needed to be in the
rooms where the decisions were being made and where the votes were being cast.
And I think that a lot of this too is that for the first time in many women’s
lifetime it really felt like our rights were at a heightened risk of being taken
away. There was no longer that backstop of at least having a Democrat in the Oval
Office There was a GOP-controlled house, a GOP-controlled Senate, and suddenly the Trump administration was moving into the White
House. Something I heard throughout the course of my reporting over and over
again was women who had this realization it was like a light bulb went off, and
they really thought to themselves Well if Trump, if Donald Trump can be in the
White House, if Donald Trump can win the presidency, well then surely I can run
for City Council or for Congress or for my state legislature. The women who ran in 2018 really flipped
the script on what it means to be electable. One of the most crucial things
that happened was that we saw women use their experiences as mothers, as gay
women, as immigrant women, as women of color as trans women, as assault
survivors. And rather than play down those parts of their experience they
ended up using them as assets as something that they would bring with
them to the political office. Something else that changed during the 2018
election cycle was that the advice for women running for office used to be to
ignore sexist attacks, to rise above it and just let it roll off your back, and
that really changed. The advice turned to clap back. Call it out publicly.
If you experience sexism on the campaign trail especially in a really blatant way,
tweet about it. Have a response to it. Women had much more room to clap back
than they typically did, and I think a large part of that was that across the
country women in all different fields running for office and not running for
office, were raising their voices about what they had experienced just for
living in female bodies.

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