In this episode of Sally Hubbard’s Women Killing It! podcast, law professor and political activist Zephyr Teachout shares her experiences running for office, first for New York Governor in the Democratic Primary and then for Congress in New York’s 19th District. Zephyr explains that politics is about meeting, connecting, and listening to people — all of which play to women’s strengths.

“In moments of really difficult decisions, just act. Don’t wait until you find the perfect choice. Because yes, it will shape you in some very profound ways. But you can’t know the ways it’s going to shape you. And there’s so much value to action, and there’s so much cost to inaction.”

Zephyr, who teaches law at Fordham University and is the author of Corruption in America, thinks self-governance requires candidates of all kinds, especially women. She also believes everyone has it in them to run for office, describing it as the most human thing a person can do. Listen and get inspired to enter politics or to fearlessly take any bold action.

“Men are far more likely to ask about a potential job: ‘Do I want this job?’ That is the most important question for them. And women are more likely to ask, ‘Am I qualified compared to the most qualified person I can imagine?’ I think it’s really important to shed that question.”

Zephyr Teachout on why representation in politics matter…

“You don’t hear the full range of things that people are dealing with when you have such unrepresentative politics. People ask me a lot about running for office as a woman. I think there’s a sense that running for office is not only about appearances but is sort of vaguely dirty and corrupt. We certainly have to get rid of that, because if we leave politics to people who fit the Ken doll image it’s not going to work.”


More Women Killing It! On Women You Should Know

Coming up… next week’s Women Killing It! interview features Jill Filipovic, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, a lawyer, and the author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.

In case you missed it… check out Sally’s previous episode that features Christyl Johnson, Goddard Space Center’s Deputy Directory for Technology and Research Investments and the first African-American deputy center director at NASA.

For even more inspiration, you can subscribe to Women Killing It! on iTunes…