Rising female leaders in the political world


During FFLOA’s second meeting on Nov. 15, the members are coloring pictures of women in politics while having a discussion about sexual harassment for women in politics and about the results of the small elections that took place on Nov. 7.

One day during Walking Wellness, Georgianna Port ‘19, Gabriella Nielsen ‘19, Cecilia Adams ‘19, and Fiona Miller ‘19 were walking together while talking about women in politics. The discussion eventually fueled anger among them.


“We’re all in Walking Wellness together and we’re talking and we’re all really mad because it just seems like, at Jones, there’s more girls [who] care about politics than guys do, but that’s not reflected in the senate or the presidency or the political office,” said Miller. “We were trying to figure out why that was and address the issues with that.”


In November, they founded the club called Future Female Leaders of America (FFLOA), of which they are all co-presidents.


“FFLOA is this female-centric space where women come together and discuss politics,” said Nielsen. “We want to create a space where women can discuss regardless of your party affiliation or where you are in the political spectrum and just facilitate discussion among women in Jones.”


Port, Nielsen, Adams, and Miller came up with the name of the club based off of their vision of women in politics.

“When you want to be a woman in politics, it’s like you kinda have to step up and become a leader,” said Adams.


At Jones, FFLOA is the only bipartisan club for politics.


“There’s a young Republican club, a young Democrats Club, but there [wasn’t] really a space just to have discussion about political issues, specifically focusing on the voices of women because women are very marginalized in society and a lot of times, they are dismissed,” said Nielsen. “Women can try to run for political office and a lot of times, they are harassed, just like it’s hard for women to get their voices out and [be] heard and so we wanted to create a space for that.”


Not only is FFLOA a place for conversations among females with different political views, but according to Port, FFLOA is also “dedicated to getting women interested in politics and spreading political activism among women in general.”


“We’re seeking to engage more women in politics,” said Miller. “And help them see that politics is a viable career option for them, helping to create equal representation in politics for women and men.”


Despite Jones having a Women’s Empowerment Club whose goal is to look at issues that are affecting all women and educate others about these issues, FFLOA believes that there should be two separate clubs.


“Women’s Empowerment Club is about empowering women, which we totally support, but it’s more focused on feminism,” said Miller. “Our club is focused on political issues and politics.”


A lot of the members are in both FFLOA and Women’s Empowerment Club, including Eleanor Massengill ‘20. Massengill, also a board member of Women’s Empowerment Club, joined FFLOA from its start and agrees that there should be two different clubs. The clubs have only mentioned to each other about doing a future collaboration, but there has not been further action taken to make that collaboration happen.


“With Women’s Empowerment Club, it’s more like intersectional and covering a wide range of issues concerning women,” said Massengill. “I think it’s important to have a club specific to women in politics and [for those] who are interested in politics.”


FFLOA’s club sponsor Kathryn Colby did not know that Women’s Empowerment Club existed until it was brought up in the interview.


“I have no idea,” said Colby. “I didn’t know that was a thing cause if I had, I might have been like ‘why don’t you guys go [to Women’s Empowerment Club]’, but they must’ve wanted to do something more with the political aspect.”


Even though FFLOA is a bipartisan club, Massengill think that it will be difficult for the club to succeed in getting opinions heard from both political parties.


“All of the girls [club members of FFLOA] are very liberal, but I don’t think there’s any girls in it who are leaning towards the right or [who are] Republicans,” said Massengill. “If a girl who does lean right would like to join, we wouldn’t tell her no because it’s an opportunity to educate both sides and have a constructive debate. Having both sides could be a good opportunity, but we don’t have that as a club yet.”


Massengill believes that the difficulty could be due to the majority of the political views that are heard specifically at Jones.


“It is hard just cause Jones is mostly liberal so even if we wanted to be bipartisan, it probably wouldn’t happen,” said Massengill.


Colby thinks that those who join FFLOA will have interest in politics, but the club will not  just be about politics.


“I think there’s definitely an aspect of wanting to not just discuss politics, but also to educate each other and even people outside of the club about what’s happening and why is it meaningful or like why anyone should care,” said Colby. “I think you do have to have some kind of inclination that politics is a thing that is happening around us and have a vague idea of what’s going on, but I don’t think that means that you wouldn’t enjoy being in the club or that you wouldn’t be a valuable member in the club [if you’re not interested in politics] because the club title is Future Female Leaders of America so it’s not just about politics. That’s a place that is a big point for discussion, but there is definitely a desire to uplift each other and create a very safe space.”


Though the club has a main focus on politics, when Colby only moderates and rarely contribute her opinion in the discussions, she noticed that these issues are not just about being a female in politics, but also about being a female in everyday occurrences.


“At the end of the conversations, it involve less about politics and more about daily life interactions,” said Colby. “Students are starting to see where these gender divides are coming into play and things are not necessarily as equal as they could be even in a safe environment like a high school, especially like Jones. It’s not like anyone’s trying to tell women not to be the greatest they could be, but it’s all the tiny little bitty things that happen everyday.”