Women in the Workplace: Politics

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YONKERS -

While women are running for office in record numbers, politics is still dominated by men. On the national level, women make up less than 20 percent of legislators in Congress. In New York, women make up 28 percent of seats in Albany. So why aren't more women in public office?

”Women stepping out front has not been the tradition. It hasn't been the norm, and it really hasn't been encouraged,” says state Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins.

And once elected, there is the challenge of being taken seriously and being allowed to lead.

“We have to consider the way we are dressed, our hair, our makeup, everything will be critiqued down to the very last detail, and men are not subjected to all of that,” says Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez, who found her way into politics in her 30s.

Rookie Rockland County Legislator Lauri Santulli says juggling parenthood, a job as a teacher and her role as an elected official is the sort of challenge many women face when pursuing politics.

"And there are people that go after you. Especially with social media they can be brutal, my kids got dragged into it,” she says.

Sen. Stewart Cousins may soon break through that glass ceiling in New York. The trailblazing Democrat from Yonkers is the first woman in her district to be elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and may soon become the first woman in history to lead the state Senate.

“To come to a place now where women are taking seats of power where women weren't normally seen and having our voices heard is really extraordinary,” she says.

Women in the Workplace continues Thursday with a look at sexual harassment in the workplace.

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