Women Celebrate their Growing Role in City Government

Shahana Hanif, the Democratic nominee to replace Brad Lander in the city council speaks during the celebration of 30 women expecting to lead the city council in January. Photo by Ariel Pacheco

The organization that helped women organize and campaign for city council seats and gender equity in office celebrated at City Hall Park, Tuesday, July 13 that they have far exceeded their goals.

Dubbed 21 in ‘21, the organization’s goal was to see at least 21 women elected to the 51-person council, but come January the new council will have 30 women, with 86% of those women being people of color.

“Back in 2016 when we started it was just an idea,” said Executive Board Chair Amelia Adams. “We broke a lot of glass ceilings last week.”

As currently constructed only 14 women hold seats in the council. The City Council will now see representation that is more similar to the make-up of the constituents they represent. New York City has more women than men and the Democratic party has more woman voters than men. 

Most of the candidates who won and were endorsed by 21 in ‘21 were in attendance and spoke. Even some candidates who lost but were endorsed by the organization were present. It is reflective of how this coalition of women has come together to ensure they have representation in local government. Candidates and winners from all five boroughs were present.

“What we have done in this City is transformational. We wake up every day on purpose with a purpose realizing we are getting elected to positions never ordained or designed for all of us,” said Vanessa Gibson, who is likely the next Borough President of the Bronx. 

Chants of “when woman run, women win” were constantly shouted throughout the press conference as it has seemingly become the rallying cry for 21 in ‘21. 

The influx of women into the City Council is a huge win for coalitions, candidates, and voters alike who have fought to get fair representation for women in government. Ranked-choice voting played a big role in getting these women elected as well. Research has shown that ranked-choice voting gets more women and people of color into office. 

“We will make sure that our number continues to grow because the City Council will be able to be great for the City because women are in leadership and when women run, women win,” said Council Member Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan).