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Democracy's Future podcast: Student group at Illinois Wesleyan University helps women find their voice in politics

One woman in glasses and a black sleeveless sweater and t-shirt poses for a photo next to a woman in a long sleeved cream colored sweater
Eric Stock
Samantha Wilcox, left, and Itzel Mendoza from Illinois Wesleyan University's Woman in Politics student group.

In the latest episode of Democracy’s Future, we explore the role women play in politics in the U.S. For most of America's history, it's been a secondary role. Women make up a larger share of the electorate, but men have historically held the majority of elected offices.

This group of students at Illinois Wesleyan University is determined to change that.

Itzel Mendoza of Bloomington, who graduated this month with a double major in political science and Hispanic studies, is a member of IWU's Women in Politics student organization, along with Samantha Wilcox, who graduated with a degree in neuroscience from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

Mendoza says women are often patronized in political circles.

“A lot of time we are not taken seriously, our concerns are not raised or advocated for. I feel like if we bring RSOs (registered student organizations) similar to Woman in Politics (to campus), our concerns will be taken more serious,” Mendoza said.

“I just think that we can do better as a country. I think that’s what fuels me,” Wilcox said. “Even just seeing how much we’ve grown as a nation in the past decade, century, there’s (still) a lot of room to grow, a lot of places we need to improve.”

Mendoza and Wilcox both said they would like to think that the U.S. is ready to elect its first female president, and they hope it’s within the next decade.

“Someone’s going to have to be the first,” Wilcox said.

Democracy's Future will be taking a little time off from the podcast as students take summer break. We are still planning a few episodes over the summer, so look for that. And we will hear from many more student voices in the fall as the November election draws closer.

Please give us your feedback on this series and let us know if there are certain issues you'd like us to explore. Email us at news@wglt.org.

Megan Spoerlein was a reporting intern at WGLT.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.